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y

y = b+a(x-x0) b = f(x0) ; a = f’(x0 )

y=f(x)

(x0 ,f(x0 ))

x

Figure 1: Tangent as a linear approximation to a curve The tangent line approximates f (x). It gives a good approximation near the tangent point x0 . As you move away from x0 , however, the approximation grows less accurate. f (x) ≈ f (x0 ) + f � (x0 )(x − x0 )

1 Example 1 Let f (x) = ln x. Then f � (x) = x . We’ll use the base point x0 = 1 because we can easily evaluate ln 1 = 0. Note also that f � (x0 ) = 1 1 = 1. Then the formula for linear approximation tells us that:

f (x) ln x ln x ln x

≈ f (x0 ) + f � (x0 )(x − x0 ) ≈ ln(1) + 1(x − 1) ≈ 0 + (x − 1) ≈ (x − 1)

Graph the curve y = ln x and the line y = x − 1. You’ll see that the two graphs are very close together when x = x0 = 1. You’ll also see that they’re only near each other when x is near 1. The point of linear approximation is that the curve (in this case y = ln x) is approximately the same as the tangent line (y = x − 1) when x is close to the base point x0 . 1

MIT OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu

**18.01SC Single Variable Calculus
**

Fall 2010

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from opencourseware single variable calculus

from opencourseware single variable calculus

- MIT9 85F12 Proposal
- MIT9 85F12 Cr Tips
- MIT21M_030S13_exam1review
- MIT21M_030S13_exam2review
- MIT9_85F12_brochureblank
- MIT9 85F12 Practicum
- MIT9 85F12 Brochure
- MIT9 85F12 Cr Guidelines
- MIT9 85F12 Final Project
- MIT6_851S12_ps4
- MIT6_851S12_ps3
- MIT6_851S12_ps2sol
- MIT6_851S12_ps4sol
- MIT6_851S12_ps3sol
- MIT6_851S12_ps5
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- MIT6_851S12_ps10sol
- MIT6_851S12_ps2
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