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Precalculus

Precalculus

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Published by Zachary Lym

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Published by: Zachary Lym on Jan 22, 2011
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11/05/2013

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Chapter 1 Warming Up
 The basic theme of this book is to study 
precalculus 
within the context of problem solving. This presents a challenge, since skill in problemsolving is as much an art or craft as it is a science. As a consequence,the process of learning involves an active apprenticeship rather than a passive reading of a text. We are going to start out by assembling a basictoolkit of examples and techniques that are essential in everything that follows. The main ideas discussed in the next couple of chapters willsurely be familiar; our perspective on their use and importance may benew. The process of going from equations to pictures involves the key con-cept of a 
graph
, while the reverse process of going from pictures (or raw data) to equations is called
modeling 
. Fortunately, the study of graphingand modeling need not take place in a theoretical vacuum. For example,imagine you have tossed a ball from the edge of a cliff. A number of nat-ural questions arise:
Where and when does the ball reach its maximumheight? Where and when does the ball hit the ground? Where is the ball located after 
t
seconds? 
Cliff.Path of tossed ball.Ground level.
Figure 1.1:
Ball toss.
 We can attack these questions from two directions. If  we knew some basic
physics 
, then we would have equa-tions for the motion of the ball. Going from these equationsto the actual curved path of the ball becomes a 
graphing 
problem; answering the questions requires that we really understand the relationship between the symbolic equa-tions and the curved path. Alternatively, we could ap-proach these questions without knowing any 
physics 
. Theidea would be to collect some data, keeping track of theheight and horizontal location of the ball at various times,then find equations whose graphs will “best” reproduce thecollected data points; this would be a 
modeling 
approach to the prob-lem. Modeling is typically harder than graphing, since it requires goodintuition and a lot of experience.1
 
2
CHAPTER 1. WARMING U
1.1 Units and Rates
 A marathonrunnerpasses the one-milemarkerof the race with a clockespeed of 18 feet/second. If a marathon is 26.2 miles in length and this speed is maintained for the entire race, what will be the runner’s total time? 
 This simple problem illustrates a key feature of modeling with mathe-matics: Numbers don’t occur in isolation; a number typically comes withsome type of 
unit 
attached. To answer the question, we’ll need to recalla formula which precisely relates “total distance traveled” to “speed” and“elapsed time”. But, we must be
VERY CAREFUL 
to use consistent units. We are given
speed 
units which involve distance in “feet” and thelength of the race involves distance units of “miles”. We need to make a  judgment call and decide on a single type of distanceunit to use through-out the problem; either choice is OK. Let’s use “feet”, then here is the fact  we need to recall:(total distance traveled)
=
(constant speed)
×
(elapsed time) (1.1)(ft)
=
(ft/sec)
×
(sec) To apply the formula, let 
t
represent the elapsed time in seconds andfirst carry out a “conversion of units” using the conversion factor “5,280ft/mile”. Recall, we can manipulate the units just like numbers, cancel-ing common units on the top and bottom of a fraction:
26.2
mile
×
(
5,280
ft/mile
) = (
26.2
)(
5,280
)
////mile
·
ft ////mile
= (
26.2
)(
5,280
)
ft 
.
Formula 1.1 can now be applied:
(
26.2
)(
5,280
)
ft 
=
18
ft 
/
sec
×
t
(
26.2
)(
5,280
)
18
/ft /ft/sec
=
t7,685.3311/
sec
=
7,685.33
sec
=
t
So, the runner would complete the race in
t
=
7,685.33
seconds. If we wanted this answer in more sensible units, we would go through yeanother units conversion:
t
=
7,685.33
sec
×
(
1
min/
60
sec
)
×
(
1
hr/
60
min
)=
7,685.3360
2
hr 
=
2.1348
hr 
.
 
1.1. UNITS AND RATES 
3 The finish clock will display elapsed time in units of “hours : minutes :seconds”. Two further conversions (see Exercise 1.4) lead to our runner having a time of 2:08:05.33; this is a world class time!Manipulationofunitsbecomesespeciallyimportantwhenwearework-ing with the
density 
of a substance, which is defined by density 
def 
=
mass volume
.
For example, pure water has a density of 
1
g
/
cm
3
. Notice, given any twoof the quantities “density, volume or mass,” we can solve for the remain-ing unknown using the formula. For example, if 
857
g of an unknownsubstance has a volume of 2.1 liters, then the density would be
d
=
mass volume
=
857
g
2.1
=
8572.1
×
g/
×
1
/
1,000
cm
3
=
0.408
g
/
cm
3
.
Example 1.1.1.
A sphere of solid gold has a mass of  
100
kg and the den- sity of gold is 
19.3
/
cm 
3
. What is the radius of the sphere? Solution.
This problem is more involved. To answer this, le
r
be theunknown radius of the sphere in units of cm. The volume of the sphereis
=
43
πr
3
. Since the sphere is solid gold, the density of gold is the ratiodensity of gold
=
mass of sphere volume of spherePlugging in what we know, we get the equation
19.3
gcm
3
=
100
kg
43
πr
3
=
100
kg
43
πr
3
1000
g
1
kg
=
10
5
g
43
πr
3
Solving for 
r
3
 we find
r
3
=
1236.955516
cm
3
from which we get 
r
=
1237
cm
3
1/3
=
10.73457
cm

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