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**7 Tangents, Velocity, and the Derivative
**

Math 1a October 12, 2007

1. Let f (x) = x3 . Use the deﬁnition of the derivative to ﬁnd f (2).

**Solution. We have f (2) = lim (2 + h)3 − 23 h→0 h3 (8 + 12h + 6h2 + h3 ) − 23 = lim h→0 h3 2 12h + 6h + h3 = lim h→0 h3 = lim 12 + 6h2 + h3 = 12.
**

h→0

2.

Let f (x) =

√

x.

(a) Use the deﬁnition of the derivative to ﬁnd f (4). Solution. We have √ √ √ f (x) − f (4) x−2 x−2 x+2 = = ·√ x−4 x−4 x−4 x+2 (x − 4) √ = (x − 4) ( x + 2) 1 = √ ( x + 2) as x → 4, this expression goes to f (4) = 1/4. (b) Find f (x) and give its domain. 1 Solution. Do the same algebra with 4 above replaced by a, and you get f (a) = √ . In other 2 a 1 words, f (x) = √ for all x. This assumes that x > 0 otherwise the limit does not exist. 2 x

(c) Is f diﬀerentiable at zero? Use a graph to illustrate why or why not.

Solution. Graphically, we can see that the tangent line to f at zero is vertical. Analytically, we can see that the diﬀerence quotient at zero is √ f (h) − f (0) h 1 = =√ h h h which, as h → 0+ has no limit (the limit is ∞). This doesn’t even get into the fact that f is not deﬁned for x < 0, and we usually require a limit from both sides before a function can be diﬀerentiable. Here’s a useful fact: for any numbers A and B: A3 − B 3 = (A − B)(A2 + AB + B 2 ) 3. Let f (x) = √ 3 x = x1/3 . Use the deﬁnition of the derivative to ﬁnd f (x) and give its domain.

Solution. The diﬀerence quotient for f (a) is x1/3 − a1/3 x1/3 + x1/3 a1/3 + a2/3 x a − · 1/3 = 1/3 a1/3 + a2/3 a) x2/3 + x1/3 a1/3 + a2/3 x−a x +x (− x as x → a this tends to f (a) = 4. Repeat with f (x) = x2/3 . 1 1 . So f (x) = x−1/3 for all x > 0. 3 3a1/3

Solution. The diﬀerence quotient for f (a) is x1/3 − a1/3 x1/3 + a1/3 x1/3 + a1/3 x2/3 − a2/3 2a1/3 = = 2/3 → 2/3 1/3 a1/3 + a2/3 x−a x−a x +x 3a as x → a. So f (a) = 2 −1/3 2 a , or f (x) = x−1/3 for all x > 0. 3 3

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