2012 1029 http://betterexplained.


A Gentle Introduction To Learning Calculus
I have a love/hate relationship with calculus: it demonstrates the beauty of math and the agony of math education. Calculus relates topics in an elegant, brain-bending manner. My closest analogy is Darwin‘s Theory of Evolution: once understood, you start seeing Nature in terms of survival. You understand why drugs lead to resistant germs (survival of the fittest). You know why sugar and fat taste sweet (encourage consumption of high-calorie foods in times of scarcity). It all fits together. Calculus is similarly enlightening. Don‘t these formulas seem related in some way?

They are. But most of us learn these formulas independently. Calculus lets us start with ―circumference = 2 * pi * r‖ and figure out the others — the Greeks would have appreciated this. Unfortunately, calculus can epitomize what’s wrong with math education. Most lessons feature contrived examples, arcane proofs, and memorization that body slam our intuition & enthusiasm. It really shouldn‘t be this way.

Math, art, and ideas
I‘ve learned something from school: Math isn’t the hard part of math; motivation is. Specifically, staying encouraged despite

  

Teachers focused more on publishing/perishing than teaching Self-fulfilling prophecies that math is difficult, boring, unpopular or ―not your subject‖ Textbooks and curriculums more concerned with profits and test results than insight

‗A Mathematician‘s Lament‘ [pdf] is an excellent essay on this issue that resonated with many people:

―…if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done — I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.‖
Imagine teaching art like this: Kids, no fingerpainting in kindergarten. Instead, let‘s study paint chemistry, the physics of light, and the anatomy of the eye. After 12 years of this, if the kids (now teenagers) don‘t hate art already, they may begin to start coloring on their own. After all, they have the ―rigorous, testable‖ fundamentals to start appreciating art. Right? Poetry is similar. Imagine studying this quote (formula):

―This above all else: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as night follows day, thou canst not then be false to any man.‖ –William Shakespeare, Hamlet
It‘s an elegant way of saying ―be yourself‖ (and if that means writing irreverently about math, so be it). But if this were math class, we‘d be counting the syllables, analyzing the iambic pentameter, and mapping out the subject, verb and object. Math and poetry are fingers pointing at the moon. Don’t confuse the finger for the moon. Formulas are a means to an end, a way to express a mathematical truth. We‘ve forgotten that math is about ideas, not robotically manipulating the formulas that express them.

Ok bub, what’s your great idea?
Feisty, are we? Well, here‘s what I won‘t do: recreate the existing textbooks. If you need answers right away for that big test, there‘s plenty of websites, class videos and 20-minute sprints to help you out. Instead, let’s share the core insights of calculus. Equations aren‘t enough — I want the ―aha!‖ moments that make everything click. Formal mathematical language is one just one way to communicate. Diagrams, animations, and just plain talkin‘ can often provide more insight than a page full of proofs.

But calculus is hard!
I think anyone can appreciate the core ideas of calculus. We don‘t need to be writers to enjoy Shakespeare. It‘s within your reach if you know algebra and have a general interest in math. Not long ago, reading and writing were the work of trained scribes. Yet today that can be handled by a 10-year old. Why? Because we expect it. Expectations play a huge part in what‘s possible. So expect that calculus is just another subject. Some people get into the nitty-gritty (the writers/mathematicians). But the rest of us can still admire what‘s happening, and expand our brain along the way. It‘s about how far you want to go. I‘d love for everyone to understand the core concepts of calculus and say ―whoa‖.

So what’s calculus about?
Some define calculus as ―the branch of mathematics that deals with limits and the differentiation and integration of functions of one or more variables‖. It‘s correct, but not helpful for beginners. Here‘s my take: Calculus does to algebra what algebra did to arithmetic.

Arithmetic is about manipulating numbers (addition, multiplication, etc.).

you can find c. Suppose we know the equation for circumference (2*pi*r) and want to find area. we can ask all sorts of questions:     How does an equation grow and shrink? Accumulate over time? When does it reach its highest/lowest point? How do we use variables that are constantly changing? (Heat. What to do? Realize that a filled-in disc is like a set of Russian dolls.  Calculus finds patterns between equations: you can see how one equation (circumference = 2 * pi * r) relates to a similar one (area = pi * r2 ). much more! Algebra & calculus are a problem-solving duo: calculus finds new equations. …). Like evolution. calculus expands your understanding of how Nature works. Algebra finds entire sets of numbers — if you know a and b. motion. describing the sides of a right triangle. Algebra finds patterns between numbers: a2 + b2 = c2 is a famous relationship. and algebra solves them. Using calculus. And much. An Example. Please Let‘s walk the walk. populations. Here are two ways to draw a disc: .

Now here‘s where things get funky. we just place the unrolled ring at that location. The final ring is more like a pinpoint. Let’s unroll those rings and line them up. that triangle becomes less jagged (more on this in future articles). For each possible radius (0 to r). the very largest ring has radius ―r‖ and a circumference 2 * pi * r. but it keeps the pattern of 2 * pi * current radius. making a jagged triangle.   One side has the smallest ring (0) and the other side has the largest ring (2 * pi * r) We have rings going from radius 0 to up to ―r‖. But if we take thinner rings. with no circumference at all. . right? And how much space does a ring use? Well. As the rings get smaller their circumference shrinks. What happens?  We get a bunch of lines.  Make a circle and fill it in Draw a bunch of rings with a thick marker The amount of ―space‖ (area) should be the same in each case.

This is a recurring theme in calculus: Big things are made from little things. split it up. And sometimes the little things are easier to work with. Calculus showed us that a disc and ring are intimately related: a disc is really just a bunch of rings.‖ . I prefer starting with physical. Did you know we don‘t learn calculus the way Newton and Leibniz discovered it? They used intuitive ideas of ―fluxions‖ and ―infinitesimals‖ which were replaced with limits because “Sure. The total area of the ―ring triangle‖ = 1/2 base * height = 1/2 * r * (2 * pi * r) = pi * r2. Just a few words on ―rigor‖. That‘s just not happening with your velocity equation. which is the formula for area! Yowza! The combined area of the rings = the area of the triangle = area of circle! This was a quick example. but did you catch the key idea? We took a disc. visual examples because it‘s how our minds work. A note on rigor (for the math geeks) I can feel the math pedants firing up their keyboards. it works in practice. and put the segments together in a different way. instead of recognizing it as Nature‘s way of saying ―This has lots of energy. and straighten them into a crude triangle to see if the math really works. That ring/circle thing we made? You could build it out of several pipe cleaners. We‘re looking at the sweetness of sugar from the level of brain-chemistry. how often do you know the equation for velocity for an object? Less than once a week. But does it work in theory?”. That‘s great. We‘ve created complex mechanical constructs to ―rigorously‖ prove calculus. A note on examples Many calculus examples are based on physics. separate them. Eat it. but have lost our intuition in the process. if that. but it can be hard to relate: honestly.

I don‘t want to (and can‘t) teach an analysis course or train researchers. but I know this can change. or the time needed to grow. Would it be so bad if everyone understood calculus to the ―non-rigorous‖ level that Newton did? That it changed how they saw the world. The natural log can be seen as an integral. oft-maligned subject in a new light. as it did for him? A premature focus on rigor dissuades students and makes math hard to learn. Here‘s the first:  Prehistoric Calculus: Discovering Pi Happy math. Thanks!) Other Posts In This Series 1. Flux and Curl (if you already know vector calculus) My knowledge of calculus is still very mechanical. Where next? My goal is to begin presenting a beautiful. As I explore this topic I‘ll cover the insights that worked. Learning Calculus: Overcoming Our Artificial Need for Precision 4. Case in point: e is technically defined by a limit. (PS: A kind reader has created an animated powerpoint slideshow that helps present this idea more visually. and get into the chemistry along the way. A Gentle Introduction To Learning Calculus (This post) 2. Which explanations help beginners more? Let‘s fingerpaint a bit. Prehistoric Calculus: Discovering Pi 3. Many ideas are more intuitive than you think:     Averages Pythagorean Theorem Imaginary Numbers Div. hoping you‘ll chime in with what has helped you. but the intuition of growth is how it was discovered. Grad. Why Do We Need Limits and Infinitesimals? .

but. but what struck me about the circle -> triangle transformation was how elegantly it shows the superiority of tau as the circle constant.. A Friendly Chat About Whether 0. How To Understand Derivatives: The Quotient Rule. because my Geometry teacher told us they were.  The circle being unraveled and reassembled into a triangle.. seeing it unrolled was my big aha! too.5. Power & Chain Rules 10. Exponents. That makes sense! Kalid Thanks Josie..) 6 ❤ 18 by Josie · full discussion page I knew circles and triangles were related. Ben It's maybe a little outside the scope of the discussion.. and Logarithms 7 Category: Calculus... but that triangle just screams to me "I am half of a rectangle!" Kalid . Guides.. Calculus: Building Intuition for the Derivative 8. Typically.999. pi*r^2 is trotted out as the example of why circumference over diameter is preferable to circumference over radius. (More.. = 1 6. How To Understand Derivatives: The Product. A Calculus Analogy: Integrals as Multiplication 7. Math Share what worked: Aha moments & FAQ Let's create a living reference for how best to understand this topic. Understanding Calculus With A Bank Account Metaphor 9.

Great point Ben! Ralph Brilliant...!! Your name Add comment  seeing the graph and relating that to the are of he triangle 1❤6 by pax · full discussion page Your name bruce how simple life could be if everything was explained as simply Your name Add comment  "A premature focus on rigor dissuades students and makes math hard to learn. beaming from ear to ear! Aha! kalid Awesome.. those are my favorite eureka moments! :) Zubair Wow nice topic. so glad to hear." A ton of truth/insight packed into that well-articulated sentence. 1❤3 by Charlie Flowers · full discussion page .enjoying entire topic. simple and fun explanation! It made me get up and walk around the room..

can we find out what it is"? Made the goal very concrete and intuitive. I wonder if that has anything to do with the terminology of "taking a derivative". To crib a programming phrase. Having a visceral experience of "steepness" is really cool.. And it became intuitive that the slope should be a "simpler" version of the original function itself that is "derived" from it.. but I have no idea whether it does. premature rigor is the root of teaching evil. 2. love the specifics about what's working. Sylvanus P Thompson wrote about a person climbing a graph and said something to the effect that "he feels a particular steepness . 1. I like that. . I'm almost feeling my stomach change by thinking about climbing a steep staircase.) 1❤1 by Charlie Flowers · full discussion page Two insights from elsewhere that helped me were: 1. it already "contains" the "knowledge" of the "steepness" at every point. glad it clicked.kalid Awesome. When I realized that the function we were trying to find the slope of actually fully contains all the "knowledge" of every point that will be on the graph... it contains the knowledge of how that steepness changes. Your name Add comment  Two insights from elsewhere that helped me (More. thanks for publishing this material! kalid Thanks Charlie. Great site. and therefore. In fact.

you can then figure out the performance of the company. you can then figure out if they've received a raise. i. And if you know the raise is tied to the performance of the company. My analogy: If you know someone's bank account.ar » Blog Archive » Replanteo … Pingback: The Case For Teaching Calculus Early .. and each level has a slightly simpler look.e. Yes.3. you can monitor it and figure out their monthly income. Thanks for the support! Your name Add comment  the uncurling of the circle ❤1 by fred stelwagen · full discussion page Your name Add comment Aha! The insight that helped w as: Post feedback 251 thoughts on “A Gentle Introduction To Learning Calculus”       Pingback: Mainfram Reality » links for 2008-05-03 Pingback: nulleando.com. And if you're monitoring their income. all from looking at their bank account! Each step is "simpler". the bank account has the raw data. all the knowledge is really linked..Standard Deviations Pingback: Adam @ Dusk » Math Class Pingback: Spy story « The Braden Files Pingback: Prehistoric Calculus: Discovering Pi | BetterExplained .

r^2 I don‘t ask for dy/dx. 2008 at 12:43 pm said: Sign me up! I did all that crazy ―area under the curve‖ stuff at school. I can absolutely get what you‘re talking about.r So what you showed was integration. so maybe the use of y is just convention? So…dy/dr? Keep up the good work. but rather something/dr I don‘t see any other letter. So. Degrees and Radians | BetterExplained Pingback: Learning Calculus: Overcoming Our Artificial Need for Precision | BetterExplained Pingback: Better Explained « Xavier Seton‘s Blog Pingback: A Calculus Analogy: Integrals as Multiplication | BetterExplained Pingback: Candle Making Practice Ebook For Running Own Candle Making Business. | 7Wins. and have fun « Minding the Gap Pingback: A Treasure Trove for Autodidacts Pingback: Surprising Patterns in the Square Numbers (1.                 Pingback: Intuitive Guide to Angles. to differentiate pi.Pearltrees Pingback: Why the area of a circle = area of triangle » Ishango Bones Pingback: Finding Unity in the Math Wars | BetterExplained Pingback: How did you pass College Algebra? .City-Data Forum 1. but never understood how it REALLY worked. They lost me when the sines and cosines joined the calculus party. but what the heck is going on. BetterExplained eBook Available! | BetterExplained Pingback: relearn calculus. Paul on May 2. and here‘s the crack: your article is brilliant. Now let me remember. Your circle example is dynamite.Page 15 . which makes sense to me as you did take the area under a curve. . an pi is just a number.Higher education .eu Pingback: The Uselessness of Math : Lab Rats Pingback: Math. and I also found the idea that calculus ―finds patterns between equations‖ very intuitive. y=2x^2 => dy/dx = 4x…sure. 16…) | BetterExplained Pingback: Today‘s assignment « McGoldblog Pingback: Understanding Calculus With A Bank Account Metaphor | BetterExplained Pingback: Basics of JavaScript Pingback: Engineering by cashea . That‘s like taking pi. my little equation is differentiation. I‘ve nevertheless remained interested in maths over the 20 years since. 4. 9.r^2 back to 2pi.

Give me an above-average student and I can teach them the basics of calculus in less than a week. and have already finished Differential Equations. and see how far I want to go in that direction. For my degree. . I‘m not saying that a conceptual presentation of mathematics should precede basic grade school necessities like arithmetic. After a certain point. anyway. 2008 at 12:51 pm said: I like these sorts of examples for people who have never seen calculus before because. However. the teacher would usually end with something like. Jesse Farmer on May 2. I don‘t feel awed by its complexity. recently I‘ve felt that it‘s all starting to make sense and come together. I‘ve decided to continue taking some mathematics courses in my next semester. the subject is not that hard. But it‘s rarely the basics that get people. but rather it‘s simplicity. How an incredibly seemingly complex relationship can be broken down into a symbolically simple idea is truly beautiful. these would be the final mathematics courses I would need. but it should definitely have its place. My favorite moments in horrible math classes in high school and junior high would be when the teacher would digress and just talk about the nature of zero or infinity or other interesting concepts. were how calculus developed up into the mid-19th century — nary a delta or an epsilon in sight. These methods. I‘m currently taking Calculus III. ―Well. great article! 3. Conceptually. I would have probably been hooked then. Again. If I had been introduced to mathematics in that form when I was younger. By misrepresenting the elegant nature of mathematics. after all. and I‘ve found that mathematics is quite elegant. Of course. Mike on May 2.2. we are restricting students who would otherwise begin to take interest. to get back on topic…‖ and resume with some cumbersome proof. 2008 at 12:50 pm said: Beautiful commentary. honestly. It really is a shame that the way mathematics is presented creates a negative impression from grade school on. it is beautiful and elegant and explanatory and all-encompassing.

I understand the pain a naive student goes through when he is burdened with truck load of Calculus books having tons of theorems. God Bless You! (BTW. Justin on May 2.Euler was the master of these types of proofs. 2008 at 12:57 pm said: Dude. but I just had to let you know every article is great and very informative. proofs and unimaginable number of weird questions that have absolutely no relevance to the real world! I scored well in my engineering mathematic subjects but I never really understood the point of learning that stuff. 2008 at 1:30 pm said: I just wanted to say I‘ve been reading your blog for some time now. I wish we had someone like you who could paint such a wonderful picture and make the subject more relevant to students. Prateek Sharma on May 2. you rock! Being an Engineer. It wasn‘t until mathematicians like Weierstraß started getting counter-intuitive results with these so-called ―intuitive‖ methods that they decided an absolutely rigorous foundation for calculus (and all of mathematics) was necessary. but thanks again!) 6. So. 2008 at 2:16 pm said: . Heck. there are limits at which this type of reasoning breaks down and we simply can‘t reconcile what is true with what our intuition says is true. I just wish you wrote more often =) (j/k I know it must be a lot of time to put together these articles. I don‘t even remember half of it now. I look forward to whatever article you come up with next in the series. James on May 2. 4. the only caveat is that while these methods might be intuitive and help people just learning calculus. where are you from? I wud love to meet a genius like you sometime!) 5.

Rodrigo on May 2.] they decided an absolutely rigorous foundation for calculus (and all of mathematics) was necessary‖ Well ―they‖ may have decided that. thanks for the comments guys! @Paul: You got it — we were essentially integrating the equation for circumference. And as you said. There are always holes to poke. 2008 at 2:16 pm said: You said: ―Instead. 2008 at 3:01 pm said: Wow. One interesting thing about integration is seeing how something that doesn‘t ―look‖ like a curve (a bunch of rings) can be twisted into a format that does. but it might be rigorous enough to work for the problems you care about. which could really encourage people. but they failed. and define it rigorously. No mathematical system is absolutely perfect. x on May 2. . Now can someone out there with the requisite skills (I don‘t have them) *please* make the circle into triangle thing into a video and post a link to youtube? 7. 2008 at 2:51 pm said: ―[. dy/dr is a perfectly fine way of saying it too.‖ Amen! Those ―aha!‖ moments make live worth living (or math worth learning ) 8. people‘s eyes will glaze over . let‘s share the core insights of calculus. Equations aren‘t enough — I want the ―aha!‖ moments that make everything click. 9. but don‘t have a chance because we jump into the details. the use of x (input) and y (output) are conventions..This was just great. Your system will never be rigorous enough to always be right. there are such beautiful ideas buried in math. Kalid on May 2. But if you call it that from the outset. This is the essence of Gödel‘s work. where x is the radius (never mind that we always learned it as 2 * pi * r). @Mike: Thanks for the awesome comment! You really nailed it. So the regular way would be to say the equation is really 2 * pi * x..

I wish I posted more frequently too . Kalid on May 2. etc. that really means a lot. Drills are much more manageable when you have an appreciation for why you‘re doing them. But if we started off with relativity and quantum we‘d lose everyone along the way. @Justin: Thank you for the kind words. Then you start learning an instrument and memorize scales (doing drills). It may be like listening to fun music (rock. we teach them about the exceptions: strange things happen at the speed of light (relativity) and when you get really small (quantum mechanics). Maybe I can find a way to trick myself into writing more . rap. as people advance. and sometimes it‘s a struggle to have a ―good enough‖ insight (I don‘t want to rewrite what‘s already on wikipedia). For every equation. and if you‘re around feel free to drop me an email (kalid@instacalc. there was someone seeing it for the first time and saying ―whoa‖. perfectionism. which are ―intuitive‖ to a degree. @Rodrigo: I agree — math would be a boring place if it was only about pushing numbers around 10.) and being inspired to play.Conceptual discussions & drills have their place. I know what you mean — I‘ve taken many math classes. Yeah. . @Prateek: Thanks for the kind words! Just a curious learner here. 2008 at 3:02 pm said: . I see it similar to teaching Physics: we start with Newtonian mechanics. but the formulas just seemed to stay there. Those side discussions you mention can be awesome — it highlights the discovery side of math.com). I‘m usually in the Boston or Seattle area. @James: That would be awesome. The articles can be time consuming (10-15 hours) but I think my brain is the bottleneck — procrastination. Then. Unfortunately I don‘t have any animation skills either. @Jesse: That‘s a very good point. and didn‘t really change how I viewed the world.

let‘s run with it‖.@x: You hit the nail on the head. It was discovered through intuition. but it‘s not presented in the best way. Zac on May 2. I‘m sick of the way the education system teaches math. 2008 at 9:37 pm said: Hi Zac. 11. We tend to show the final result without all the steps along the way — and those steps are what build intuition. That explanation works quite well. 12. seeing the derivative and integral that way (in terms of changes) can really give an intuitive feel — and the fundamental theorem becomes that much clearer. for setting up equations that use calculus. I‘ve given you too much to read as it is. Yep. at its core. to me. and that‘s the best way to learn it. which is my personal way of looking at it: calculus is all about how things change. it‘s simple: learn the way that it was originally discovered. Always appreciate an interesting discussion! . depends on unprovable axioms and assumptions — at some point you have to say ―this seems to work. 2008 at 7:19 pm said: This is something I‘ve learned from my quite limited independent study of calculus. I have to agree about math education. so much that I‘ve considered writing a textbook in the style I think math should be taught. Kalid on May 2. I agree with you about math education — I think many people are capable of learning the subject. thanks for the comment. To me. I‘ll cut short my rambling here. The derivative is one tiny change. Unfortunately the quest to make calculus rigorous turned it into something which isn‘t as easily understood for beginners. Math. It surprises me that people don‘t often write about their own insights (vs. formulas). it‘s good enough. I‘m reminded every day that there are people intelligent enough to understand math who don‘t get it because it‘s not explained in a way that makes sense intuitively. and the integral is the sum of many tiny changes. It wasn‘t even until about a year or two ago that I started to really understand math and not just use the equations I was given. so just trying to take a stab at it. It also makes the fundamental theorem of calculus very simple to understand.

I enjoy your articles. Math for the Millions. Kalid on May 2. sounds like a good ―plan‖ to me. 2008 at 11:11 pm said: Another good explanation. Mark on May 3. 2008 at 1:51 am said: Hi. 2008 at 6:12 am said: ―You know why sugar and fat taste sweet (encourage consumption of high-calorie foods in times of scarcity). Thanks Kalid. 14. etc. glad you enjoyed it. Doug Hogg Former Prinicpal of Pinewood Academy P. and our bodies are designed to make use of them in an optimum way. I didn‘t think it was your style. 2008 at 11:28 pm said: You‘re welcome Viru. I have several books on calculus (Calculus for Dummys. I think you could leave this line out: ―I‘d feel I cheated if I called calculus ―the study of limits. Since it only communicates to people who know calculus. but weakly weaving religion into an article on math is unnecessary and. Viru on May 2.–never was able to read them) but your explanation is what I have needed all these years.13. 2008 at 6:36 am said: .S. 16. etc. Doug Hogg on May 3. integrals.‖ Sounds like just as strong an argument for Creation if you ask me! Sugar and fat are provided to aid survival. Kat on May 3. and thanks. 17. Congratulations. Sweet fruits encourage consumption and hence spreading of seeds for survival. and infinite series‖. frankly. derivatives. 15. Wow! You have communicated a beautiful simplicity.

but I only have to take college algebra to transfer. so that‘s what I‘m going to do next fall because it stands a chance of not making me crazy. The rings-into-triangle thing was the biggest ―AHA!‖ moment I‘ve ever had regarding math. it kind of made me want to learn how to like math. so I really would love to be able to do math and not excuse myself by saying it isn‘t my subject. because I only made it through a year and a half of high school algebra before I gave up). see. Like. You understand why drugs create stronger germs (survival of the fittest). thank you! I feel like there‘s a glimmer of hope that I might be able to get a handle on math if I just look at it differently. but I hate it so much that I don‘t WANT to practice it. My closest analogy is Darwin‘s Theory of Evolution: once understood. I never thought of it being ideas.) Anyway.‖ I guess I don‘t see where Kalid is ―weakly weaving religion into an article on math. so I liked it. 18. But thank you. (I like things when I understand them. It made sense.I have always. I‘m actually pretty decent at it when I understand it. 2008 at 11:18 am said: @Mark 2nd Paragraph: ―Calculus relates topics in an elegant. I would be so much better at it if I bothered to practice it. and the placement test put me in trigonometry (I don‘t know how. I am rambling. It all fits together. which has honestly never happened before. Kalid on May 3. but it is such a painful process to get to where I understand it that by the time I do.‖ Or was your comment meant to be taken sarcastically? 19. because I know how to do it. It made me CURIOUS about numbers. I‘m in my first year of college. Your definition of calculus made so much more sense than the ones I‘ve heard. ALWAYS hated math. Zack on May 3. solving gigantic equations is ridiculously fun. it was just brain-numbing formula memorisation until now. I‘m sick of it and don‘t want to do it anymore. You know why sugar and fat taste sweet (encourage consumption of high-calorie foods in times of scarcity). 2008 at 5:37 pm said: . But reading this post…well. And I hate it when I‘m unable to do something. brain-bending manner. you start seeing Nature in terms of survival.

the point is that calculus finds similar connections/underlying themes between math — there are nice (simple) reasons why the formulas are linked. Anyway. It makes me chuckle when I see complex subjects (calculus) explained in terms of other complex subjects (limits. The hardest part about math can be staying interested and keeping your motivation. You definitely can get a handle on math — I really believe it‘s a skill like writing.@Doug: Thanks for the note. when you get it. fat and other high-calorie foods probably starved when times were tough. so hang in there! Seeing it as just another way to talk about an idea can help get the big picture. the similarity in the equations just looks like a happy coincidence. which selected for that trait. Hope this helps clarify what I meant. there may be other reasons too). And you‘re right. integrals. without at least _some_ plain-english explanation. Without calculus. . Animals that hated sugar. Once upon a time. unifying theory that can explain a lot of natural behavior. I‘m glad you found it helpful! Good point on the note — I changed the wording a bit. today everyone does it. Mark on May 3. everyone thought reading & writing were ―hard‖ and only for scribes. etc. much like ―sugar is sweet and spoiled food tastes bad‖ might seem like a lucky coincidence without the theory of evolution. 2008 at 6:38 pm said: @Kalid: . How is a beginner looking up what calculus means supposed to have an idea of what it does? @Mark: I‘m not sure I understand the connection to creation — the goal was to use evolution as an example of a simple. @Kat: That‘s awesome! I love getting those ―aha‖ moments and I‘m happy you were able to get excited about calculus ideas (it‘s a rare thing in this day and age). But their siblings with a sweet tooth probably survived. even solving gigantic equations can be fun 20.). Evolutionary pressure gives an explanation of why sugar would seem sweet to us today (I‘m not a biologist.

One of the best things I‘ve ever stumbled upon. I‘ve heard it been called. The analogy with finger painting only after learning chemistry/physics/anatomy is so very accurate. Keep it up!! 24. Kalid on May 4. I think the key point behind it all is that the sweetness of sugar serves a purpose (to help us survive) — but if we don‘t notice this underlying theme then we miss many of connections that exist in the real world. 2008 at 10:28 pm said: . and for your comment! Glad to make things clearer as I can — the funny thing is that despite using the squiggly lines many times. 2008 at 5:43 pm said: Absolutely magnificent. It came off a bit preachy to me and detracted from an otherwise well-written article.Your implication appears to be that evolution is THE theory that provides the ―aha‖ level of understanding the natural world. 2008 at 9:03 pm said: I always wanted to learn this calculus stuff. I really have enjoyed all of your articles. Paul on May 3. 21. ―Drill & kill‖. 22. Grey on May 4. Kalid on May 4. So I‘m trying to go back and relearn the stuff with the viewpoint of ―it has to mean something!‖. they tended to stay in the realm of abstract symbols without much inherent meaning. 2008 at 11:45 am said: @Mark: Point taken. I‘ll keep writing as best I can 23. @Paul: Thanks for dropping in. (so far so good anyway) Please keep up the good work you have been doing on this web site. 2008 at 8:45 pm said: Thanks Grey. Yet the example you provided is just as easily explained by creation. I‘ve always had a curiosity about just what all those squiggly lines were on the old chalk boards. Derive Host on May 4. and happy for the discussion. I think you have succeeded in clearing up some of the fog. 25. Tho I seemed to have survived the last 40 years of electronics and computer theory without it. not letting people fingerpaint (with the absence of tests & grades) can destroy a child‘s interest in a subject. . I‘m thrilled you enjoyed it so much! Yes.

2008 at 12:35 am said: Hi Kalid. I‘ll need to check that out. So I‘ve decided that I‘ll wait until you start to write about the calculus. ―The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible‖. …) and in the meantime I‘ll spend my math time in other areas. I‘m very happy to have such a great math teacher! material. Kalid on May 5. 2008 at 11:34 am said: @Martin: Thank you for the wonderful comment — I‘m glad you‘re finding the articles helpful! I‘ll try to keep them that way . as always. I‘m very lucky that I did such choice.Many Thanks for Sharing. the Keith‘s book is great reading during waiting for next Kalid‘s article 27. I tried to learn calculus myself few times. which actually brings me to the interest in math. natural log. Best Regards Team Web Hosting Sri Lanka 26. such a valuable information. I‘ve been waiting for this article/series about calculus for few months since started reading your blog. complex numbers. so enlightening and clear. Martin on May 5. 2008 at 10:06 am said: WOW. Pham on May 6. since you explained so well every area you wrote about so far (exponential functions. . Your article is. Without that book I would probably not read this blog and would not believe in my bright math days So for Thanks you so much for such others asking ―Why Math?‖ or searching for a lot of ―Aha!‖ moments. I would like to mention the book by Keith Devlin. 28. Thanks for the book recommendation. I‘m always interested in resources that can help people understand & appreciate math more. I‘ve learned something I knew how to compute some simple examples but I‘ve been missing that ―Aha‖ moments so much. one or two years ago. Also.

Best wishes. Kalid on May 7. the perimeter is 4x. I apply your awesome triangle procedure and get (1/2). . nice job. I wonder. Yeah. we only want to take the radius (x/2). and made it easy to understand. Paul on May 7. Similarly for the square. we‘re only measuring the ―outward‖ distance from the center.4x which is 2x^2.amazing stuff. does the triangle analogy also work with squares instead of discs? If the side length is x. it‘s funny how explaining stuff ―for kids‖ can force you to distill all the mumbo-jumbo into its most basic elements (and therefore making it more clear for everyone). you can see how you could bend the sides all the way around to make a circle. Paul 30. you can imagine that we‘re bending the jagged triangle into 4 corners — we move from the center to the right side.x. Again. Looking at the jagged triangle. Thanks for the reply Kalid. The tricky part is that even with ―square rings‖. @Paul: Thanks for dropping by. I like your approach. since the perimeter wraps around. but I was hoping for x^2. when you first told me you were going to write an article how real world calculus I thought it‘d be a stretch. the article is brilliant. The equation turns into (1/2)(base)(height) = (1/2)*(x/2)*(4x) = x^2. 2008 at 1:08 pm said: @Pham: Thanks man. So we only go from 0 to x/2. glad you enjoyed it . That‘s a great question — I think using a square should work. but the height of each line can wrap around the entire square. it gave me the 80% i needed to know to be able to converse in very little time. 2008 at 1:44 am said: It‘s Paul from comment #1 again. this was very impressive. I used to learn very complex subjects by picking up the kids editions of things. 29. Thus.

Kalid on May 11. Ferenc on May 11. 2008 at 8:16 pm said: One of the things that I have tried to encourage engineers and mathematicians to do is to tell things to me as though I were 8 years old. glad you enjoyed it! 33. Your diagramatic. Congratulations for a [formerly] calculus-shy lawyer.Hope this makes sense. Richard Bash on May 12. Nothing is difficult if the teacher cares enough to make it simple. Interested Reader on May 8. 32. 2008 at 9:46 pm said: Awesome. I think it‘s weird because we aren‘t used to talking about the ―radius‖ of a square. I had to think about it for a bit. . 2008 at 11:15 pm said: Many thanks. 2008 at 9:35 pm said: Amazing! Four semesters of mind-numbing calculus in engineering and I was blown away by the circle triangle example. glad it helped you! I know what you mean — sometimes we get stuck in the nitty-gritty of integrals and derivatives that we don‘t realize that calculus was buried inside the formulas we learned in middle school . Never really looked at such a basic relation in this light! Can‘t wait for more! 36. 34. Goldust on May 11. 31. 2008 at 2:02 pm said: Another great article from a great writer. 2008 at 8:21 am said: Keep up the fantastic maths analysis. thanks for the support! 35. pictoral explanations should be taught around the world. Kalid on May 11. 2008 at 5:38 pm said: Hi Ferenc. You‘ve done that here and I am a wee bit wiser for it. 37. Kalid on May 8.

2008 at 10:30 pm said: Kalid. etc. . thanks for the message . I also appreciate your efforts in replying to each of the comments. So far I have never understood maths ―the way it needs to be understood‖. Kai on May 14. Many Thanks Again. and I think everything you write is well thought out. On the book. Usually. In this modern world there‘s so many everyday analogies to be made. Thanks again for the comment. yet so . informative. Kalid on May 12. and above all. I think it would be great if in a follow-up article you discuss the relationship between velocity and acceleration. Your article was enlightening. Kalid on May 14. Thanks for such a wonderful article. I think it would be a great idea. glad you found it useful! The funny thing is that many engineers & mathematicians would prefer the 8-year old version too! Many people end up learning the mechanics but not the insight of the operations. Maybe after I get a few calculus posts under my belt 41. mechanically.) and you need them all to have a good grasp. and I think determining the rate of change of a rate of change is something that is easily overlooked. interesting! Calculus was by far my favorite math subject. we only focus on the mechanical aspects. 40. 2008 at 12:34 am said: Hi Vasanth. My wish is that you write a book on Maths in ―Simple & easy to understand‖ way and i would definitely recommend it. 2008 at 9:12 pm said: Hi Richard.38. though. Currently I‘m looking into collecting these pages and organizing them into a series. 2008 at 5:21 pm said: I‘ve been reading your blog for months now. I had so many ―a-ha!‖ moments that I felt like the world was different after I learned it. 39. Vasanth on May 13. I think math can be understood a variety of ways (intuitively.

Kalid on May 14. the distance you travel is ultimately a ―function‖ of where your foot is on the pedal. which changes your velocity. a topic that will need a bit of thinking. but I‘d love to see a Kalid explanation for it! Another related topic I think would be simple yet interesting is events happening in instantaneous vs discrete time. So really. 2008 at 10:29 pm said: Hi Kai. Sarnath on May 15. Thanks! 44. thanks for the message! I‘m glad you‘re enjoying the articles. although personally I can‘t think of any good examples for that. Paul on May 15. Thanks again for the comment! 43. Even in a car.elegant once you realize it. The use of instantaneous rates is intriguing as well. I‘m trying to figure out the best way to approach the limit concept. I‘m thinking about how best to present it. 2008 at 6:05 am said: . I think the relationship of acceleration to velocity is a good one. you don‘t set your *speed* — you push down the gas or brake.. which changes your distance. I really believe that there are interesting nuggets in any subject — sometimes we just have to dig for them . Again. It might also be too simple for your blog. I think it‘d be an interesting topic — no subject is too simple . I just remember how shocked I was that we could determine an object‘s velocity at any given instant and totally remove change in time from the equation. yet it is still inherently dependent on time! 42. which accelerates you. It‘s essentially a machination from the 1800s to deal with ―infinitely small changes‖/infinitesimals which had been used intuitively before then. 2008 at 5:26 am said: ― Did you know we don‘t learn calculus the way Newton and Leibniz discovered it? ― I have often thought about this one.

@Paul: Thanks for the message. because religion vs science arguments belong in a different forum. And I‘d like to point out that that‘s the first time i‘ve seen that. ―@Mark: Point taken. a great calculus teacher in high school. and I‘m hesitant to re-open the subject. Thanks for publishing this explanation. and that‘s fine. it really bothers me that we tend to treat these pushy religious types as if their ―theories‖ of the origin of life and the origin of the universe deserve respect. witch was rather odd given that we we‘re pretty good at math. However. 2008 at 7:46 pm said: @Sarnath: Yes. it makes me want to revisit the subject! But the real reason I‘m posting is because of what Mark said in the comments above. and all of us knew the antiderivative for 1/xdx however the antiderivative of 1/VdV. especially in retrospect. but at the time I didn‘t realize how unusual and great that was! Unfortunately. it been a long time. and I‘ve forgotten a lot. And sometimes we get sidetracking when a variable is replaced 46.Hi. It was definitely a very mature way of handling an immature poster. and no one had a clue. .‖ And then he very deftly sidestepped the whole subject and restated his original point without the ―offending‖ reference to scientific theory. . But a lot of these people are making an organized. I wasn‘t going to say anything. and happy for the discussion. I‘d like to first congratulate on that example. Kalid on May 15. or anything like that. Yep. Now people will always believe crazy things. I consider it ironic that Newton probably wouldn‘t recognize calculus as we teach it today . 45. I have my own example of math being tought moronically. 2008 at 10:35 pm said: I ―StumbledUpon‖ this a few days ago. witch should be mind bogling since i‘m a seniour student in a technical college and my knowledge of math and physics is way above that of the average layman. was a whole together diferent story. or as if they‘re harmless. We learned a lot of the intuitive aspects of the subject. sometimes we get so deep into the nitty-gritty that we forget how calculus can help us see relationships between ―everyday‖ equations. I remember once when our high school physics teacher asked us what was the integral(antiderivative) of 1/VdV(the work being done in an isothermal transformation). and I felt it was very big of Kalid to say. Jeff on May 16. and thoroughly enjoyed it! I had.

All of those components contribute to the way the sentence functions. it must explain the available evidence. Go ahead. it must be refutable.‖ Apparently.concerted effort to undermine human progress. But remember. This also shows how rude and pushy these religious types can be. when he brings up ―Creation. I‘ll leave it alone. ―It came off a bit preachy to me.‖ The Shakespeare quote is beautiful. . and it must make predictions which are testable.‖ Just as the theory of gravity is THE theory we have to explain the observable fact that gravity exists. . I just think that the most important way to combat the kind of ignorance that leads to the election of incompetent public officials is to combat ignorance whenever we encounter it in our daily lives. 2008 at 2:51 pm said: I have to disagree with you on your Shakespeare example. The simple fact that he believes this shows how ignorant we can be if we hold false beliefs. I Promise. Now I‘ve had my say. There are no others. in order to qualify as a theory. Especially widespread ignorance. the theory of evolution by natural selection is THE theory that explains the observable fact that evolution exists. look at word choice — in short. Sorry.‖ but there‘s a reason Shakespeare didn‘t just say ―be yourself. Kalid. and with our ecosystem in such a delicate position. figure out the meter. and to figure out why. but weakly weaving religion into an article on math is unnecessary and. it gets at the idea ―be yourself.‖ The first word or concept on the page having anything to do with religion is in Mark‘s previous paragraph. 47. wacky religious beliefs in a discussion about math. figure out *why* it is beautiful.‖ This is so ridiculous I just had to include it. by (in this case) not making allowances for somebody‘s random. Sort of a ―think globally. ―I enjoy your articles. try and name one. It would make me laugh if it didn‘t make me lose so much hope for our future. while making it seem as if we are slighting them. . In other words. act locally‖ plan. I didn‘t think it was your style. it is not a theory. we as humans can‘t afford to let them. Gabe Murchison on May 17. ―Your implication appears to be that evolution is THE theory . Ignorance is often very dangerous. Now this post really is preachy! Sorry. Mark is saying that the theory of evolution is a religion. Sure. we can diagram the sentence. Otherwise. frankly.

Kalid on May 19. but since you mention evolution. I‘m not as interested in anyone‘s reasons why something is so. glad you enjoyed the post! Yeah. I love numbers and thanks to Mechanical Universe. plain-language versions of Hamlet in English class! 48. I could understand the concepts – I couldn‘t put together the equations. darwin on May 19. science is about knowledge and religion is about ethics. 50. I found a great teacher there who could turn the lessons around 180º and explain it so I could finally understand it. mixing ―religion & science‖ can be a touchy subject. the pictures ―disappeared‖ again. it all fell apart again. 2008 at 5:37 pm said: excellent job on this one 51. and you shouldn‘t use one to determine the other. 2008 at 10:48 pm said: @Jeff: Thanks for the comment. There‘s a reason we don‘t read simplified. 49. 2008 at 10:02 am said: Hi. I like physics. while the effects are so plain obvious. As soon as calculus was added. But great points . Funny thing is. couldn‘t you write an article about it? So many people walk around and think they can argue against it. . I found a book called Physics Without Calculus and truly enjoyed it because I could ―see‖ the problems. I usually don‘t address it in posts since it‘s unlikely for either person to change their opinion based on a few paragraphs on a website. I found out I was a visual learner.so it‘s important to look at them. wlid on May 19. In this particular example. as much as the effects (sugar/fat serve a higher purpose of encouraging survival). but when I got to calculus class. To me. Kelly on May 18. abridged. 2008 at 1:47 pm said: This is great! I flunked math all through high school and ended up doing basic math and algebra in a community college. it‘s probably not your favorite topic.

calculus can be visual and intuitive. manu on May 21. but often it‘s buried underneath a pile of equations. though I‘m currently not that well versed in the biological particulars . its my third language. So. I admire someone whos making this effort just for the sake of math and the bad name it has among the young. it would be cool as it‘s a very powerful and far-reaching observation. and even though its elemental math for me. After a while I realized that studying math was quite enjoyable and easy if you went and understood what were you doing with the numbers. cause if you dont go to class its very hard to internalize and understand huge formulas. Very well written but most of all. while others tried to memorize what formula and when to aply it I was trying to understand why that formula and why use it there. @Kelly: Thanks. its reminded me of the beauty that math has and I had forgotten with subjects like Econometrics and advanced statistics. But anyways. Unfortunately. glad you liked it. I think the key is being able to appreciate the intricate structure _and_ the meaning (not just one or the other). I guess that Ive been lucky enough to have good teachers although they did use the conventional teaching system. Ive always enjoyed math classes. and I hope that many of them come across this to learn to see math with different eyes. Coming across this article has been interesting since it describes exactly what I felt back in that day.@Gabe: Good point. Luck and thanks! Manu . LOL. I‘ll have to add this to the reading list. math education tends to focus on the former. 2008 at 4:21 am said: To start. glad you enjoyed it! Yes. 52. economics. forgive my english. @wlid: Thanks. The equations are useful. That was back in 9th grade. @darwin: It would be an interesting article. Its been more or less 7 years since that revelation was made and Im still studying math related degree. The things is that the only way I could study math and remember formulas was to make sense of them. Appreciate the book suggestion. But yep. but can be really dense without any kind of intuitive grasp (I had a similar experience with vector calculus — it didn‘t really start making sense until I visualized it).

stumble and blog. For nearly 12 years right from my higher secondary school to college. Thanks for all your effort keep up the good work. you have unwound a knot that was tied 12 years before. Kalid on May 22. I have asked all my teachers why we should learn calculus and where we should apply it (The best ones gave the example of speed. 2008 at 9:37 pm said: I can‘t imagine how I did pass all my math subjects back in college. 2008 at 5:06 pm said: Awesome. thanks for the message! Yes. 2008 at 7:44 am said: Hi Manu. This is awesome. We are really blessed to have this internet. I love mathematics! 55.velocity and accelaration nothing more than that). 56. God bless you. I had it when I read your article. But never had that A-ha moment. I scored well in math during my school days and college days too(That is the beauty of current math education you can score well without understanding anything about solution). for many students it‘s not obvious that this understanding is important unless they stumble upon it themselves or their teacher encourages this line of thinking. My professor presented the subject just the way you presented your circle-triangle area presentation. I have been searching through lots of books and lots of sites regarding calculus. 54.Spain 53. I‘ve always enjoyed knowing the ―why‖ not just the ―how‖ — unfortunately. Kalid on May 21. Glad you‘ve enjoyed the article . I dont have words to explain my happiness. . glad you‘re finding it useful . Ferose Khan J on June 2. I am an engineer by profession. 2008 at 2:44 am said: Hi. I went through this article in your site and atlast found the answer. tiny on May 21. Others gave a list of formulas to memorize.

2008 at 11:35 am said: Hi Corey. thanks for the comment. 2008 at 12:31 am said: I very much enjoyed your article Kalid. thank you for such a wonderful message! It means a lot that the article was able to help understand this subject — I know what you mean about the memorization vs. I‘m planning on doing a series on calculus so I hope they are useful for you too! 58. It just wasn‘t satisfying to manipulate the equations without knowing what they were really for. I‘m really happy the article was able to help. I applaud your effort in sharing knowledge. But the real reason I‘m posting… in a nutshell (I love those books) ―the greatest measure of intellect and knowledge is recognizing how much you don‘t know. And no matter what you may say when it comes to (as science likes to call it) ―first cause‖ your mouths open and close as you stutter to say something but you have no coherence. I do appreciate your respect for other people‘s opinions Kalid. Ferose Khan J 57. 59. I wish more people would realize how much claimed ―knowledge‖ really is just opinion and more respect should be accorded. excellent article and I look forward to reading more from you. Corey on June 5. Again. many scientists) do not believe in that theory. Einstein professed belief in intelligent design. understanding.With lots of love and respect. As many posters have. 2008 at 11:35 pm said: Hi Ferose. I also wish I didn‘t over-react to those that don‘t. with others. Kalid on June 2. Kalid on June 5. and excitement about it. I had plenty of ―cram and forget‖ sessions in school. . Again.‖ Jeff‘s premise that ignorance=belief in creation and education=belief in the theory of evolution is belied by the fact that many of the most educated and intellectual people (including many. I‘m happy you‘re enjoying the article.

etc. In fact. and I don‘t know many people who said ―I drastically changed my opinion based on a comment I read online‖ ). we‘d still believe in a geocentric universe. Nature. we‘ve got to start somewhere: All models are flawed. Otherwise. chariots pulling the Sun. Is the gap filled by something fundamentally unknowable (God. knowing it may not be complete (Newtonian Physics to Einstein‘s Physics to whatever comes next). really painful or really really fun — I‘m trying to find ways to turn the former into the latter 63. I‘m primarily interested in explaining what we currently understand. or is it just an idea we haven‘t discovered yet. and this article just made me love it even more 62. Anonymous on June 9. . like the origin of the universe. So. I think an admission of ignorance is a prerequisite for understanding because everyone needs to accept the possibility that their current position may be flawed. but some are useful.. Sbs Matematik on June 6.The question about ignorance and knowledge is a good one. 2008 at 3:52 pm said: Great thx for pictures 61. 2008 at 11:48 pm said: . 2008 at 7:47 pm said: lol i already love math.). etc — you cannot teach someone who thinks they already know. sometimes math can be really. However. like gravity moving the planets? That‘s more of a personal/philosophical question that isn‘t along the lines of what I discuss today. and unfortunately can lead to counter productive discussions (it can become a heated topic. . @Anonymous: That‘s great! Yes. is what constitutes the gap when we don‘t understand something. 60. Hank on June 10. Kalid on June 9. to me. The primary difference. 2008 at 7:51 pm said: @Sbs: Glad you liked it.

Anyway. But that attitude will really help you in learning. It had to do with the an equation of the area of a regular polygon with n sides (1/2 * perimeter * apothem) and if you imagined adding sides to a polygon until it was a circle. but if I ever try to get in deeper than the memorized formulas and ideas they‘re taught to know and not really understand they never seem to have any idea what‘s going on beneath it all. but that‘s because it‘s 2:40 AM where I am.I just finished reading both this article and the prehistoric calculus one on discovering pi. thanks for the wonderful message! I‘m really impressed that you‘re searching for intuitive insights this early in school. The core ideas behind all of these discoveries just shed new light on how you view everything. and I just have to say wow. so instead I simply figure out why they work. and you plug that in and then you get pi*r^2. I absolutely hate having to memorize numbers of formulas. and the majority of them hate math. I especially liked what you wrote about the epiphany like moments when you finally have an intuitive grasp over the concepts. I talk to a couple of kids in my math class. I probably seem like I‘m rambling now. and I do have to agree with what you‘ve said on the majority of the math programs being taught today. the apothem would the the radius. and have to ask when‘s it coming? 64. I love math (yep. I‘m a math geek) but that‘s only because I always focus on the intuition of it. and I have to say I‘m looking forward to the next one. as you mention most people just want to memorize the formula and move on. and the perimeter would be the circumference. Kalid on June 11. and I‘ve completely clicked on nearly everything you‘ve said. I‘m recently finished with the 9th grade. This was a pretty great find for such a late internet excursion. because I end up having those a lot whenever I‘ve been thinking into an idea for a while. So part of what I try to do is collect the various insights that . so congratulations! That‘s an interesting proof for the area as well — one thing I like about math is that there‘s so many ways to understand the same result. and I‘m pretty tired. these two article‘s have been great. It was also pretty interesting looking through that proof of the area of a circle where the one I had learned was completely different. 2008 at 11:18 am said: Hi Hank.

Although the Discovery Institute has A PAGE of signatures from scientists of various qualifications. ―Einstein professed belief in intelligent design. who claim to know the designer of the universe. Corey. You probably are sincere. no matter what the observations might reveal? Which one of these (the biologist or the creationist) will readily tell you.‖ Project Steve sets forth a very clear. the details of exactly how much they don‘t know about the origins of life? When you wrote. the statement they signed does not suggest that they ―do not believe in that theory. who consider any refutable theory that supports the observations? Or the creationists. when you say. (This is estimated to be approximately one percent of all scientists who are eligible to sign this statement. the Bible a collection of honourable. thick statement that does not include the word ‗evolution‘.‖ I found myself at first doubting your sincerity. I enjoy finding these posts where they seem willing to talk more about their beliefs.‖ It is a vague. concrete statement supporting evolution and specifically against ‗Intelligent Design‘. ―many of the most educated and intellectual people (including many.worked for me. If you doubt this fact.‖ I suspect you are repeating fabricated talking points used in church groups to convince the ‗believers‘ that they are smart. but just don‘t realize that you have been mislead. but still primitive legends which are nevertheless . 2008 at 1:32 am said: To me it always seems as though creationists refute their own arguments. from the National Center for Science Education.‖ who do you believe is claiming unsubstantiated facts? Is it the biologists. Albert Einstein wrote. I haven‘t set a date on the next calculus article but would like to have it out in a week or two 65. I urge you to check out Project Steve. This claim has been made in the past by some disreputable people. many scientists) do not believe in that theory. The only people eligible to sign this statement are scientists named ‗Steve‘. should they choose. and right. letting us see more about the thought processes behind their opinions. as you suggest. unequivocal. ―I wish more people would realize how much claimed ―knowledge‖ really is just opinion. Pirx on June 13. and states that study of ―Darwinian theory should be encouraged. . but has been thoroughly debunked. since it‘s not always explained in that way. ―The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.) To date there are EIGHT HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE signatures! When you say.

pretty childish. such as evolution or gravity. Kalid on June 20. People can believe what they like. Tushin on June 20. a huge realization is knowing that . and living in a time and place that such a thing is possible.‖ He also wrote many other things expressing disdain for religion. many things. And the phrase ―intelligent design‖ is something the Discovery Institute just dreamed up recently. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. falsifiable theories that make testable predictions. Your point that very little is understood about ―first cause‖ is of course true. I myself have discovered I was completely wrong about some things which I was utterly sure of. I hope that you can also derive some satisfaction from this submission. 2008 at 10:16 am said: @Pirx: Thanks for the eloquent comment. But in much the same way that what you wrote sparked an interest and a new understanding in myself. Corey. and that is as it should be. but understanding the (currently known) mechanisms behind phenomena. The ability to RECOGNIZE our mistakes. Now I‘m sure that nothing I could possibly write here could change your beliefs. I hope that you and everyone reading this can see that there‘s nothing wrong with being wrong. 2008 at 4:33 am said: in all mi internet travails i hav never found such a clean and easy to understand explanation of calculus! 67. It is also the basis of the scientific method. While I very much appreciate having my opinions respected. That‘s the beauty of it (in my opinion). 66. or holding false beliefs is part of being human. and how exciting! There is so much left to learn! But clearly. helps understand more about the world. I agree — my focus is understanding ideas via unambiguous. in a very significant way. and LEARN from them is perhaps our greatest strength as a species. or wrong. And yep. the origin of life and the origin of the universe are completely different subjects (except to theists). or science in general. We are ALL wrong about many. Being mistaken. long after Einstein‘s death. The orbits of the planets are not a mystery but follow a predictable pattern. opinion really doesn‘t enter into evolution.

that‘s a great insight. Yes. model of the atom is taught up to age 16.our understanding may not be fully correct will constantly improve — actually. I doubt much has changed since I was a student. or from nothing to Calculus. Really. better techniques just come along. I jumped to the comment section to leave a comment before reading the rest of your wonderful article. I wish I was taught like this) and several posts point out. understanding the historical context can help refine understanding (similar for Newton‘s laws to relativity). Thanks for writing. Nothing more and nothing less. TJ on June 24. then 17-18 a summary version of the quantum atom is taught. 69. The educational system is generally not structured to teach you much of anything. like Bohr made a model that led to quantum theory (it would be hard to jump from nothing to quantum theory. 2008 at 5:04 am said: Okay. that‘s why I called this better explained not ―best‖ explained @Tushin: Thanks! 68. yet simple. Science does teach complicated things in a historical fashion: In England at least. 2008 at 10:03 am said: @MRW: Ah. 2008 at 8:38 am said: It seems that maths and science are taught in completely contrasting styles. So we can learn that Archimedes was developing ideas that led to the theory of Calculus. The nice thing about math is that it never gets outdated or incorrect. Sue me I‘m not particularly great at math. I wish this was true for maths. but that‘s how it‘s often taught!). ―When was the last time you heard the word entrepreneur mentioned in an educational setting? ‖ Think about it. and here‘s a little something every student should know. . MRW on June 22. It exists to discover and promote students with the promise to thrive in corporate ranks. Kalid on June 22. 70. but far along enough to realize how stunningly beautiful the insights gained through math may be. as the article (which I‘d like to add was fantastic. . Bohr‘s outdated.

2008 at 3:00 pm said: @transpalet: Thanks. thanks for the comment! Yes. 2008 at 10:25 pm said: @art: 1600 words isn‘t that bad. Kalid on August 21. 2008 at 7:32 am said: too long 75. Brendan on August 4. thanks. which is quickly forgotten) and the reward system for professors in universities is not geared to reward the best teaches (publish or perish). unfortunately the educational system doesn‘t seem focused on real insights (more test memorization. the next one is in the works as we speak 77. 73. 2008 at 9:50 pm said: Still waiting for that next article. Kalid on August 4. You have no idea how much this has helped me. Kalid on June 27. 2008 at 4:39 pm said: Hi TJ. 78. Hank on August 15. glad you enjoyed it. art on August 5. 76. ! . transpalet on August 20.. Kalid on August 15. 2008 at 1:55 pm said: Hi Brendan. 72. Thank you. 2008 at 12:21 am said: Beatiful post. 2008 at 4:39 am said: That was beautiful. This site is just my little candle in the darkness .71. thanks for the note — always happy to help! 74. is it? @Hank: Thanks for the encouragement.

Dave Anderson on August 23. Thanks for your clear. 2008 at 7:44 am said: Kalid.79. Kalid on September 16. Tyler on September 16. @Tyler: Thanks for the feedback — I was very surprised that this relationship between formulas we learned in Geometry wasn‘t shown until much later. haberler on October 16. Cheers mate. you are the man. 81. 82. ankastre on September 17. 2008 at 4:56 pm said: Kalid You are a gifted teacher. 2008 at 6:23 pm said: @Dave: Thank you for the kind words! Running the site is a lot of fun. concise explanations. 2008 at 10:02 pm said: . 2008 at 6:13 am said: Thanks so much for that. 2008 at 1:35 am said: great post thank for information 85. The first illustration is perfect for a beginner. Appreciate the comment. thank again plase 84. 2008 at 5:12 am said: thanks… perfect article 83. forex on September 19. Dave Anderson 80. 2008 at 5:13 am said: great post. 86. Ben Waldman on November 2. resim on September 17. I plan to visit your site often.

but here are some people found helpful (comment #33): http://betterexplained.2 and geometry and in college i had stats and physics. Kalid on December 21. 2008 at 12:08 pm said: i have had these math courses in high school algebra 1. i wonder what you‘re doin though. 2008 at 5:45 pm said: @Ben: Interesting note! @Bryan: That‘s great about revisiting. And always look for another explanation if the one in the book doesn‘t make sense. any suggestions as to where to begin again and what books can u suggest. Kalid on November 23.are you a scientist or sth? anyhoo. 88.. thanks for any help. 89. Unfortunately I don‘t have any specific book recommendations. i would like to start over so i can build on a strong foundation and eventually get to calc and other higher maths with the desire to career change from social services to perhaps actuarial science fields or strategic management.com/articles/how-to-develop-a-mindset-for-math/ In general I would suggest always looking for the ―big picture‖ behind the concepts as they are presented.that was something!! awesome job Kalid and this article is just like so like the ones ive been searchin for all my life. specific authors. ahh great job mister.awesome article agon 90. 87. bryan on November 19.. NOXmoony on December 19... 2008 at 7:54 pm said: .the dissecting the circle proof of the area of a circle was published in the Talmud 1500 years ago in much the same way you describe here. 2008 at 12:48 pm said: mahn.

And you‘re so right about the the velocity equation (I had to wiki it). Really awesome!! I really like the ―big pictures‖ that you put side-by-side together. 2009 at 6:48 am said: Amazing post. Just finished reading this article. Val on December 26. Piers on January 17. 2009 at 5:00 am said: As soon as you said unroll the rings I got it. hee hee. I am similar to #2. Math sounds much more interesting the way you see it. Sreenath Chary on January 9. Victor on January 26. fucking brilliant! 94. I just wanted to find out if there was a better way of getting him to understand the beauty of calculus…. 2009 at 2:20 pm said: Another great article – keep on changing the world one article at a time. . where I get very intrigued by the root/origin of something rather than the nitty-gritty details (essential.and your page is brilliant. I really wish I was taught by you in my previous math classes (or at least become my cute tutor). 91.@NOXmoony: Thanks. glad you liked it! Nope. 2009 at 1:31 am said: This is one of the best readings I have done on Calculus in a long long time. 95. yet… difficult to grasp). currently working at a startup with friends . Hang Time on February 2. Keep up the fantastic work! PS remind me to give you a relaxing massage whenever you write another article =) 92. Thank you very much for making this page! The ‗aha‘ value I got from seeing the Area of a circle derived…I wish you were my teacher when I was studying! I probably would be in academics instead of being a salesman! 93. not a scientist. I used to enjoy doing calculus when I was in college…now I have a son who is in 10th grade and hates math. 2008 at 1:17 am said: Hi anh.

aleemb on February 25. This single picture if shown to students of Calculus would set off a lot of light bulbs. 97. The interest in the subject comes first. I completely agree — you can only push a rock uphill so long.And great points about motivation. 2009 at 1:37 pm said: @Val: Thanks for the encouragement Em! @Sreenath: You‘re welcome. Never before have I heard such a clear and concise explanation of the fundamentals… I seriously could have saved hours of hair-pulling in university had I had access to this article years ago. Steve on February 18. I‘m really happy you were able to find the page useful and share it with your son. It‘s never too late to tinker around with numbers @Piers: Glad you enjoyed it. 2009 at 11:03 pm said: @Steve: Thanks for the kind words and encouragement! I was in the same boat — it was years after I ―learned‖ Calculus until I started seeing what it was really about. Keep up the fantastic explanations! 98. the learning second. . when there‘s interest the learning comes easily. . Kalid on February 18. Kalid on February 18. Reminds me of my high school physics class…one of the times I was most motivated was when I was trying to calculate Michael Jordan‘s hang time when dunking from the free throw line. And I‘m still finding out 99. 2009 at 1:46 am said: ―Unroll the rings‖. I saw that and I am still in awe of how simple it is. @Hang Time: Heh. . 96. I‘ll do what I can in my little corner of the ‗net. 2009 at 9:28 pm said: Brilliant! I was just perusing Google for a quick refresher on elementary Calculus and this article came up. @Victor: Thanks.

wikipedia. it‘s funny how a complex idea can just be unraveled when you look at it differently. Kalid on February 27. Your insights are mind boggling… Thanks again 104. 2009 at 11:16 pm said: I recently read your article on calculus and it was amazing . It is available as a torrent download. 103. check this link http://www.mininova. 101. 2009 at 1:44 am said: @aleemb: Thanks.org/wiki/Differential_calculus is another excellent beginners article that is good companion to this article.org/tor/2414500 . balakrishnan on April 20.Also could you send me the url of the sites where one can learn calculus . 100. Larry Johnson on April 3. 2009 at 5:31 pm said: http://simple. really glad it clicked for you! Yes. Deryk on March 7. While I was reading a book on Sir Issac Newton I found out about calculus .so sensible. Hats Off to you . Shashank on March 18. I wanted to learn about it so the very next day searched for it on the net and I got it . 102. 2009 at 12:40 pm said: try this book..Am also terribly peeved at the academia for sapping away the joy of mathematics and not providing more motivation. unknown so easy to comprehend and store… I have read a lot on higher mathematics but this is a very refreshing approach.It has clear explanations of basics – ―idiots guide to calculus‖. 2009 at 1:25 pm said: Amazing…Thank you I enjoy this type of material Makes the most complicated.

Respect to Khalid 107. there is no expansion of the universe. I won‘t have my dad for much longer. It was no fun anymore. 106. I am just loving it. i love it. only local contraction as a result of the constant and continual creation of energy. but I had absolutely no idea why I was memorizing how to do it.105. 108. I need to understand calculus. One final comment: There is no science of ―intelligent design‖ unless its proponents are willing to admit and believe that it might be wrong. 2009 at 12:16 pm said: I am here in this blog for about 2 hours. Sumit Rai on June 8. I abandoned the study of mathematics. Shuhel on May 8. A couple of years later. 2009 at 4:34 am said: excellent article. so an article like this is invaluable for someone like me. My 77 year old father has cancer. moving post to post. You see. I need to see what it is about. Im currently doing my masters in regenerative medicine but my interest in Nanotechnology leaves me no choice to know this subject of calculus. resulting in the gravity phenomenon. By that. I mean that I don‘t need to know how to do calculus. 2009 at 7:52 am said: Hey it‘s a really cool article. He is one of the minority scientists who disputes a ―big bang‖ origin of the universe. This is something i was looking for. wolfizzi on May 4. (Basically. but he has always been my inspiration in science and math. Could you please let me know how should I go about it in detail and also about articles that are as visually appealing as yours so that i can easily understand rather enjoy the subject. I could make good grades in my Calc classes. . boss on June 22.) To fully understand what he is trying to tell me. Superb work by you. 2009 at 12:58 am said: A little more than thirty years ago I won an award at my high school for being the top math student.

Anonymous on July 3. I‘ll have a series of articles which should help provide some intuitive insights about what‘s being taught. 2009 at 2:24 pm said: Appreciate your intent Kalid but fail to see what these commenters are rhapsodizing about. 2009 at 1:23 pm said: @Shashank: Thanks! Dr. as other users on amazon would attest to that as well. Your article was quite insightful and what I needed. @Boss: Thanks. I‘m starting college this fall and need to seriously brush up on my calculus with the intent of pursuing physics. And I agree — if a theory can‘t be refuted. Mike on July 24. thank you! 110. @Larry: Thank you. seeing as how I‘ve also been quite the frustrated math student. @Shuhel. Chris on June 27. if you need to learn calculus for a course a professor & book are probably your best bet. I‘m happy the article was able to help you in this way. really glad it was useful! @wolfizzi: Wow. 2009 at 2:10 pm said: 111. 2009 at 1:10 am said: I was googling ―learning calculus‖. @Chris: Thanks! 112. Kalid on July 21. It skipped out on all the insightful moments leaving that solely to the reader and focused instead on equations and a ―semiformal‖ approach to proofs.even the crux of it was too lengthy/convoluted. Math has some very good discussions on math that may help. @Sumit: I don‘t have any detailed advice.just say to transcribe/reassemble a circle to a right triangle having the same . I took BC calc my senior year of high school and absolutely hated the way it was taught. it isn‘t science.109. The book used was simply terrible.you‘ve taken 1600 words to convey a simple geometry lesson.

area,make the radius the base,circumference the height and connect the hypotenuse,and seriously,calculus is needed to show that a disc and a ring are related? Please enlighten me if i‘ve missed the point. 113. Kalid on July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm said:

@Mike: If you haven‘t been taught calculus in a rote, dull manner, this post may not resonate as much for you. Unfortunately, many calculus introductions jump into definitions and symbol manipulation, without shedding light into the bigger picture of what calculus is for. As a result, students get discouraged, and only see the underlying themes if they happen to stick with the subject to Physics or other ―applied‖ uses. For the circle/triangle example, it‘s just tangible example of calculus in action. Sure, you can solve it using pure geometry, but calculus gives you a step-by-step method that uses formulas to get to the same result. Finding the surface area of a sphere using geometry alone would be pretty challenging, but calculus makes it simpler. You might have several ―one-off‖ geometric proofs, each with their own quirks, but calculus can directly show how the various formulas are related and variations of the same theme. I haven‘t seen many calculus introductions discussing this use of calculus, which is one reason I made the intro. 114. AZEEZ on August 5, 2009 at 5:50 am said:


@Azeez: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it 116.

x to the nth on August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm said:

I see your point but when you strip-out the largest circumference you‘ve got 3 points = triangle = the total area that the circle had. If you actually stripped-out a 4-sided segment you would have to incorporate equations involving subtracting the radius of 1 concentric circle from another or something. 117. steven on September 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm said:

I didn‘t read all the way to the bottom, so sorry if i‘m offering something that has been said. both creationism and evolution receive equal arguments in your article. one would have to be very sensitive and polarized to extract bias from your writing (regarding evolution/creationism). I don‘t really believe in God, but I don‘t not believe in God. Maybe I should write ―god‖. Idk, i thought i would let you know how I feel about the accusations of subtle religious bias. 118. Kevin on September 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm said:

I‘m 13, and I think this article was amazing. I read ―A mathematician‘s Lament‖ when it was on slashdot a few months ago and until now I think that was the greatest mathematical paper I‘ve ever read. I‘ve only found this site a few minutes ago, but the explanations are so clear and elegant. I love the evolution analogy. I think you might be like the second feynman or something. 119. Kalid on September 20, 2009 at 12:20 am said: . I‘m a huge fan of Feynman, I

@Kevin: Thanks for the kind words! I really like that paper as well

love reading/listening to the way he explains things, he‘s an inspiration for me. Thanks again for the comment! 120. Ron on October 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm said:

Kalid, you‘re the teacher‘s teacher. You have very rare gifts. Last but by no means least, I‘m sure I speak for most people here when I say that you come across more than anything- as a caring friend.

Best wishes from Downunder 121. Kalid on October 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm said:

@Ron: Thank you for the wonderful comment! It really means a lot, my goal is to write things as if I were just having a fun chat about them, just person to person. I‘m happy that is coming through 122. Wilshire on November 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm said: .

Wow! I must admit that I am very bad at maths. But after coming here and looking the enthusiasm and the way it is shown here I don‘t think maths is a boring subject at all! Now I need a miracle to pass this year. But I‘m sure I‘ll give it my best! Thanks a million yaar! I always knew maths as a boring subject. But not anymore. Again, thanks a lot! 123. Kalid on December 1, 2009 at 1:12 am said: .

@Wilshire: You‘re welcome! Really glad you‘re starting to enjoy math again 124. JaySicks on December 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm said:

Hi Kalid! I was really surprised, how similar your article to my thoughts. Because of education, I always realize the ―gotcha‖ things years after I learn in school/university. A few weeks ago I was thinking on the relation between a function and it‘s derivative function. And when I realized how they logically relate to each other, how the derivative function describes the original, I had the same dual feeling as you; calculus is beautiful, and it is really sad, that students have to realize it by themselves. Teachers prove things by 2 whiteboard long equations, instead of explaining things from the scratch – the path how to ―find out‖ things for ourselves. It seems teachers want us to learn, not to understand. But I think people forget things fast if they don‘t understand it (at least I do ).

I‘m really happy that there are more people out there who see things like this. (I wonder if this way of thinking is somewhat related to the fact that we‘re both interested in programming )

Keep up the good work, and save the world! 125. hitendra on January 18, 2010 at 1:25 am said:

Seamus on January 19. I was very happy for the contribution.hey kalid. but other people may have analogies that help too 128. flip it again‖ … the two flips cancel each other out in that case. I like to visualize numbers like that. flip it. 2010 at 4:20 pm said: @Seamus: Glad the slideshow helped. and then flip it‖". hope i‘m close. Kalid on January 30. now if we consider their circumference to be part of area of bigger circle except the last circle of radius r we get following equation 2*pi*1 + 2*pi*2 +…. sorry to bother you again. then we can have hundred circles of radius going from 1 to 100. So -3 * -3 means to me 3 * -1 * 3 * -1 which is ―take 3. 2010 at 11:25 am said: and can you tell me how negative numbers cancel each other out? The slideshow really helped Because I read your post on imaginary but don‘t understand how (-3)x(-3)=9 Until someone told me that they cancel each other out. . It‘s just another attempt towards thinking abstract. I consider -3 to be a shortcut for 3 * -1. but i have thought of another way of finding area of circle assuming 2*pi*r is the circumference. so we get pi*r2 as area taking it as simplistic deduction. which means ―Take 3. If we take r to be 100. 2010 at 4:03 pm said: . Jasper on February 24. For negative numbers. Thanks 126. 2*pi*(r) =2*pi*(1+2+…r) =2*pi*r*(r+1)/2 =pi*r2 + pi*r (we can discount pi*r for being circumference of the biggest circle).. but how? (:-O my ―aha‖ moments are more like ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh moments) 127. make it 3x larger.

Your writings really help me see the meaning and beauty behind it all. It feels a lot like I am being taught to be a robot feeding numbers into mysterious equations. Kalid on February 27.False sense of knowledge here. It is incredibly difficult because I start from scratch. 2010 at 1:11 am said: @Ketil: Thanks for the note! I completely know what you mean about the robot being fed numbers — it‘s just so frustrating not understanding _why_ something is happening. Hi Kalid……. Thanks! 130. Hope u continue the good work ………. It inspired me to derive the volume of a sphere from its surface area.!! 132. Contrived genius is the ability of a textbook author to make a PhD candidate feel like a 10 year old. I study in Class 10 and I don‘t have to learn calculus but I guess the beauty in the name ―Calculus‖ and my curiosity took me deeper. Doing it the same way as you did.. 2010 at 3:59 am said: . we get a cone whose volume can be found by using the formula : (1/3)*(Base area)*(height)……. . Shankar on February 27. Ketil on February 26. Your method of deriving the area of a circle from its circumference is cooool. You help me understand Math the same way reading Feynman helps me understand Physics. nice you non-rigorously showed the the area of the circle is πr^2 now good luck with the sphere. does it? 129.. I am currently learning Pre-Engineer Math and Physics in a 5 month course. 2010 at 12:29 am said: This article is absolute genius as opposed to the contrived genius that pen math text books. I love Feynman‘s level of insight.. shory on May 27. True genius is the ability to explain PhD level stuff to a 10 year old. I like learning but not without understanding. he‘s one of my explanation heroes that I greatly admire 131. 2010 at 9:55 am said: Thank you for this and many other great articles. Doesn‘t work very easily with geometry.beautiful article. And u have helped me a lot in understanding it.

2010 at 10:43 pm said: @Shory: Thanks. Meg on July 30. Chetan Anand on June 26. it‘s about whether you can develop an idea in someone else‘s mind. Indrani Sengupta on June 13. If maths is taught like this then 90% of students who are scared about maths and its formulas will grow aa interest towards it. @Jang: Awesome. thanks for the encouragement! Glad you were able to browse around 138. Jang on July 2. 2010 at 3:42 am said: The calculus the differential & Intregal both are tough. 139. io non pensa que le mathematica es un subjecto difficile! 136. It‘s not about you. 2010 at 7:06 am said: Explicate bellemente!!! Nunc. a huge part of teaching is just trying to explain without getting your ego in the way. I accidentally saw one of your articles and have kept reading your posts. Kalid on July 2.133. 134. I wuld like to go through some more articles like this. Kalid on May 31. Very lucid . 2010 at 10:27 pm said: . 135. Keep your good work up! 137. this page does not answer the question how to make the calculus easy for begineer. Utpal Dasgupta on July 15. And I feel so lucky to find your site and am excited to teach my son sometime later. glad you liked it! Yes. 2010 at 1:46 am said: Amazing explanation. 2010 at 9:16 pm said: Thank Kalid for absolutely superb posts! Yesterday. 2010 at 5:16 am said: .

but I‘m still in eighth grade learning algebra!!!!!!! Grrrrr! 146. Kalid on October 8. 2010 at 3:00 pm said: Arrg!!! I want to learn calculus. but now after looking at your definations. Kalid on July 30. Bron on September 27. 2010 at 6:19 pm said: . Kalid on August 16. 2010 at 7:59 pm said: can you be my math teacher instead? 144. 2010 at 8:56 am said: @Meg: Nice.. @Bron: Don‘t worry. 2010 at 10:16 am said: . Duylam on August 27. Kalid on August 28. 2010 at 8:40 pm said: God bless you! Or Nature bless you! Or fate bless you! Or whatever…. mathews museneni on August 10. Thanks!! . 142. once you learn algebra. I can try one article at a time 145. good luck! 143. 2010 at 3:48 pm said: @mathews museneni: Awesome. Taneja on October 26. @Duylam: Hah. 2010 at 4:46 am said: I have been thinking of doing a course that involves alot of mathe matics of late but i have never been good in it. happy it was able to help! 141. i know am going to change my thinking and just go for it. calculus will be there for you 147.I have to take Calculus this fall and I was practically in tears over it until I saw this website! Now I want to go out and buy pipe cleaners…and probably some finger paints too 140.

Wolf on November 2. 2010 at 3:23 pm said: @Taneja: Thanks! 149. right?). Anonymous on November 30. being able to bend perfectly into a ring of radius r (after all. 2010 at 1:16 pm said: awesome!!!!!!!!!! 152. . right?). I can see why 2*pi*r is the height but can you better explain to me why the base is r? Thanks. There‘s a visual and algebraic way to look at it. Could you post an article about L‘Hospitals rule? 150. then it should be as thick as the radius. 153. let‘s look at the visual way first. Kalid on November 3. just bent. my visual interpretation is ―the triangle needs to be large enough to account for the very outside of the circle‖. Here‘s a more algebraic way to see it: every point on the circle needs to be ―covered‖ by a matching point on the triangle (they are the same shape after all. In the triangle. 2010 at 5:45 pm said: @JF: Great question. a ring of radius r can be unbent into a straight line of height 2*pi*r. if the very bottom doesn‘t bend at all. 151. 2010 at 5:20 pm said: I have a question. I imagine the straight edge of the triangle. Kalid on October 27. how thick should the bottom be? Well. 2010 at 6:28 pm said: @Wolf: Thanks for the comment — that‘d be a great topic for an upcoming article. Kalid on December 22. So. but I‘m still having a hard time with deciphering intermediate forms.148. with radius 2*pi*r. JF on December 22. If you have the triangle (made of some gummy substance) and want to roll it into a circle. 2010 at 6:10 pm said: This article is very helpful.

though — the further away we get. the more we have to travel to get the full ―0 to 360″ coverage. The very middle of the circle is ―distance = 0. where should this shop up? Well. we keep a certain distance (like distance = half the radius) and take every angle we can. The length of the line varies. Shouldn‘t the base of the triangle be 2r? It looks like you only ―unrolled‖ half the sphere from the middle up – what about the other half? . and draw a line up as far as we can. 0 to 360. To make it more clear: In the circle. There aren‘t any more rings after the blue one. Tomer on January 13. On the triangle. so we can stop building the triangle there. 2011 at 6:02 am said: it seems to me that you only got half the area. every point on the circle can be described using two coordinates: 1) how far from the center are you? and 2) what angle are you? For example. But. angle = 90 degrees‖. 155. This ends up being a straight line on the triangle — go out some distance. angle = 0″. there needs to be some part of the triangle which as height 2 * pi * r (and there is — the blue strip). Kalid on December 22. the very edge of the circle on the right side is ―distance = r (the full distance). we have the largest ring being dark blue. 154. If we draw a ring on the circle. the key is that we need to go out the full ―r‖ in order to have lines on the triangle that match up to points on the circle. The very top of the circle is ―distance = r (full distance).Well. the radius of the largest ring is 2 * pi * r. Thus. angle = 0″. 2010 at 5:49 pm said: @JF: I forgot that I had color coded the lines. and it is at distance ―r‖ from the center of the circle. Phew! Hope this helps. A giant caveat is that we‘re ignoring the thickness of the ring — a bit like how we ignore the thickness of a line when doing geometry.

I just started Calculus I and have been nothing but frustrated by exactly what you describe here. and your explanations both completely rock. I am also good at math… but the approach to calculus (that I have experienced so far) is to basically leave out all of the information necessary to solve a problem and to focus on one small step of the process that has been emptied of all of it‘s meaning. 2011 at 8:14 pm said: I stumbled upon this in a desperate search to understand what was going on in my Calc I class. foreign words. 2011 at 9:22 pm said: Thank you for an excellent article. but not being taught the meaning or translation of any of the new. Are there any other good sources for learning Calculus from the intuitive point of view that I can reference as I try to make sense of the garbage they are force feeding me in this class? Thanks for your time. mechanical type problems and for many years made my living as a ship‘s engineer where I did nothing but repair. but actually enjoyed it.Where have I got it wrong? Thnx 156. The student is expected to simply just memorize the sounds that have been detached from any kind of meaning and become proficient at making those sounds… and then after a few years of ―learning‖ this way the meaning of the words is slowly revealed (if the student has not already forgotten 95% of the meaningless sounds that they ―learned‖). 157. Yet in 20 minutes with just this page. . I not only understood something that looked completely foreign to me. It‘s my dream to become a doctor and the only thing seemingly standing in the way is my longstanding difficulty with higher level math. The student has no way of knowing if s/he is proceeding in the right direction or even what it is that s/he is trying to figure out. It is encouraging to see that I was not mistaken when I perceived Calculus as a simple form of problem solving that has been made extremely difficult (almost unapproachable)by the standard. backwards approach that is presented by most textbooks and professors. It is maddening!!! I explained this approach to a friend of mine as trying to learn a foreign language. Mike on January 17. Your fingerpainting analogy is even more succinct. especially physical. maintain and implement all sorts of machinery and electro-mechanical systems. Who‘d have thought it? You. I am very good at problem solving. Wolfy on January 27.

Anonymous on February 25. Kalid on January 28. not weeks/months. It‘s funny. I should make a quick video with pipe cleaners to show what I mean @Wolfy: Thanks! Good luck with your class . I fear that many people don‘t realize how much more there is. Its height is 2*pi*r.html It teaches calculus using the techniques that its inventors used. but get discouraged and just go through the rote memorization to get through the class (and never touch the topic again). 2011 at 5:57 pm said: @Tomer: The triangle is only ―r‖ wide because an individual ring goes all the way around the circle and is counted on both sides. People talk about how oil‘s a limited resource. People talk about how money is a limited resource. I swear to god I‘d know calculus in an afternoon. heartfelt explanations and an encouraging attitude which actually help us learn.math. 160. Appreciate the support! 161. I think most mathematical subjects can be learned in hours or days. and the creativity to do a little critical thinking and generate something as lucid and sensible as this site. For example. if given the right approach.wisc. looking at the outermost ring (in blue). Kalid on February 8. thanks for the note! What you say about the process really rings too — it‘s so frustrating to go through math as a series of mindless steps without knowing *why* we‘re doing what we‘re doing. I haven‘t looked deep enough at other Calculus resources but I like this book: http://www. . you can see that it starts at position ―r‖ away from the middle but can loop all the way around. Anonymous on February 8.158. @Anonymous: Thank you! I deeply believe that it‘s not technology or money which is holding back education — it‘s simple. not the mathematicians who made it ―rigorous‖ in the 1800s. 159. 2011 at 7:00 am said: . 2011 at 10:33 pm said: @Mike: Wow.edu/~keisler/calc. Thank you for proving as definitively as ever that the only limited resource is human intelligence. 2011 at 5:35 pm said: If my AB calculus class was half as good as this.

164.3. the length of the line would be 2 * pi * 2 = 4 * pi). I see the rings as being very.e.. 2011 at 2:22 am said: @Ken: Great question. I‘m in 8th grade (taking 9th grade math) so can someone introduce calculus for my grade level? If not. James on March 16. Hope this helps! @Joe: I have another post in the works which takes another approach to introducing calculus. how do you know the unrolled rings will create a straight lined hypotenuse rather than some sort of curve? 163. 2. very thin lines. and so on). 2011 at 7:40 am said: Ummm. We can see as the radius increases smoothly (2.2. Intuitively. darien on March 9. because the circumference is directly proportional to the radius. 2011 at 4:18 am said: The only thing that threw me is. that‘s fine.Thanks I leanrnt the basics of Calculas here now……. i. 2. 2*pi*2. 2. 2011 at 5:05 pm said: . the length of each line is the circumference at that radius (for example. Basically. the circumference should increase also.3) then the circumference should increase in that same progression (2*pi*2. the lines come from 2*pi*r — that is.2. 162.1.1. Should be out this week. 2011 at 11:54 pm said: this made me make it 1 step closer to being as good as my dad he confuses every one with calculus hes a genius and hes mabye the smartest guy at calculus in the world and im only 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 166. straight line following the ―tops‖ of the lines making the triangle? Well. if r = 2. Ken on February 26. 2*pi*2. Kalid on March 7. Then the question becomes ―Should the lines get larger at the same rate?‖. Joe on March 6. 165. as the radius increases in a straight line (from 0 to the full radius). should there be a smooth.

Do you have any other articles on calculus with other visuals to explain concepts? I‘ve noted that it was commented that this was actually a visual for integrals. because that is what they test on. 168. for one who still needs more visuals. We‘ve all learned exactly what the system has taught us – Just to follow directions and do without thinking. But I feel like I need more substance.Not only does the cutting up the rings stuff work in 2D to find area. I know it relates to looking at the slope at a given point on the curve. find the volume of this stack of peelings using the formula for a pyramid. 167. Some have commented that derivatives were simple to understand. Your article just makes me know I could understand the meaning of what I had memorized long ago and since forgot. Hi! Your site is great! Congratulations! Humberto on April 30. you can use this method to find the volume or area of pretty much anything. This means you do 1/3 * r * surfaceArea for the 3d case. Infact as long as you know the radius of the largest sphere you can fit in a shape and the perimiter/surface area of that shape. It is all very sad. many years ago and do not remember much. Ann on March 23. I know it would give meaning and understanding to all that long lost information. Our educational system just focuses on memorization and not real thinking or problem solving. 2011 at 5:39 pm said: I totally agree with the way math is taught makes students say that math doesn‘t relate to the real world. As a result we are now proving just how much our students have been taught that they really DON‖T know how to think for themselves or solve problems. Your visual explanation of the circle to triangle was beautiful. Well. How does that help? Or relate? It makes me want to say. I would love more of this for calculus. Then to get the volume. 2011 at 3:01 am said: . I noticed how long ago this was posted. can you provide either more comments or point me to another article that will help me to see how simple they are too? I need to understand what they really mean. But you can extend to 3D to find volume. Only this time it‘s like peeling a layer off an onion and stacking up the peelings. Peace. I took it and passed many. so what? What do I do with that now? Can you help? Thank you. If I could read more of this. It was a huge moment of clarity for me.

Kalid on May 1.html All the best! 169. An alternative proof (with no area deformation) is given by Kepler: http://www. may I recommend a book to your readers which although old is freely available and makes calculus .your explanation of divergence clicked right away. I do like the alternative proof though! 171. Kalid on May 1. Keep up the good work. 2011 at 5:03 pm said: @Anirudh: Thank you! 172.surfaces Gausses Theorem. After twenty years i still groan at doing calculus for a new course and I am doing one now with a lot of vector based calculus for Electromagnetism .matematicasvisuales.uff. 2011 at 9:08 am said: Cool article I love the way you explain the relationship between the circle and triangle area . 2011 at 4:51 pm said: @Humberto: Thanks for the note! I‘m not clear that the transformation deforms area. the original ring and the final rectangle don‘t have the same area.Just a small remark: the process of unrolling a ring does not preserve area. Rupe on May 17. This put an extra difficulty in your visual proof.br/cdme/dsp/dsp-html/dsp-ac-br.html See also (in portuguese): http://www.wish more books would start off like that .com/english/html/history/kepler/keplercircle. ―Awesome‖ 170. that is. 2011 at 10:37 am said: Absolutely Brilliant…After a long time I reread this article and its just as its whats needed to be done in any teaching. Anirudh on May 1.Your way of explaining is like breathing fresh air. but I suppose that makes sense. Gaussian surfaces .

2010 [EBook #33283] Language: English Here is a quote from the prologue: ―Considering how many fools can calculate. 2011 at 11:22 pm said: @Rupe: Thanks for the wonderful comment! That‘s a great quote. I have had to unteach myself the difficulties. The title is ―Project Gutenberg‘s Calculus Made Easy. it is surprising that it should be thought either a difficult or a tedious task for any other fool to learn how to master the same tricks. Master these thoroughly. and the rest will follow. by Silvanus Phillips Thompson ― Details: Title: Calculus Made Easy Being a very-simplest introduction to those beautiful methods which are generally called by the terrifying names of the Differential Calculus and the Integral Calculus Author: Silvanus Phillips Thompson Release Date: July 28. Some calculus-tricks are quite easy. Kalid on May 19. Being myself a remarkably stupid fellow. What one fool can do. On the contrary. . thanks for sharing. The fools who write the textbooks of advanced mathematics—and they are mostly clever fools—seldom take the trouble to show you how easy the easy calculations are. I am reading your articles with great interest . That book is been on my list . sometimes math is made more complex than it needs to be. they seem to desire to impress you with their tremendous cleverness by going about it in the most difficult way.simple for simple minded folk like me . and now beg to present to my fellow fools the parts that are not hard. Some are enormously difficult.‖ Powerful stuff . 173. another can.

mitrajyoti on July 17. but it‘s 24 frames per second. 177. that we can‘t tell it apart from the original. (There are much more formal ways to state this. but it‘s how I think about it).com/articles/why-do-we-need-limits-and-infinitesimals/ We can model a shifting wave with a bunch of smaller rectangles. Chase on June 3. (This happens all the time. The key is the finer-grained our measurements (mini-shapes). Kalid on June 22. the closer we match the real shape. Instead. 2011 at 4:33 pm said: Re: your nested rings exercise proving area of circle formula… either I don‘t get it or it is truly illogical. so close to zero. Calculus tells us there‘s no detectable difference between the unrolled circle and the triangle. 2011 at 12:52 pm said: Nice Bruce Lea quotation!! 175. Or a mile thick and in both cases the answers pertaIn not at all. What am i missing here please? 176. The concentric rings in your example have a conveniet thickness. We don‘t need perfectly fluid motion. You‘ve hit the heart of calculus with ―close to zero‖ though. Check out the diagram on this page for an example: http://betterexplained. we just need something ―good enough‖ that we can‘t tell the difference).174. The idea is to make measurements so fine. let those thickness be close to zero. In this case. Calculus is about finding that threshold for ―good enough‖ where there‘s no detectable mathematical difference from the real thing. taking measurements a mile-wide would give a pretty poor approximation . 2011 at 4:55 pm said: @Tom: Great question! The key idea is that instead of measuring a wiggling shape directly. we break it into easy-to-measure pieces and measure those. 2011 at 9:09 pm said: . Tom on June 22. by the way… we watch movies and think we‘re seeing fluid motion. So.

2011 at 11:19 am said: @Peter: Thanks for the note! Hah. if any ones has any advise where i can look further about calculus and math in general to further expand my curiosity please let me know. 180. one thought i wanted to work on is my idea for the ever expanding universe. . your approach is refreshing and enlightening! The way Calculus is taught is wrong. I don‘t think people are super-comfortable (intuitively) with graphs. Today I am going to Start teaching Calculas to my my first student. so using this as a building block might be tricky. after reviewing only 3 pages and about 2 hours of writing things down i find myself stuck… what else is there. He is just 2 yeas younger than me and I am thinking how to show him that differentiation is just the opposite of integration. 2011 at 9:11 am said: Kalid. I don‘t have any tattoos but a tirade in favor of intuitive math education is definitely a contender 181. but not in an explosion but in multiple explosions that further expand the universe more and more. afterwards i decided hell i will take a crack at calculus. CD on August 19. if you find an analogy that works. By then. and pushing the universe . But you never know. 2011 at 9:36 pm said: This all seems so easy. My lawyer says I need your permission before tattooing the entire ―A Note on Rigor‖ paragraph on my back. but what i don‘t get is what now… i feel i must be missing something so i am now looking at physics which seems to be using calculus to make up things about physical aspects. over night i decided to brush up on algebra and it took less then an hour to remember everything.Thanks Kalid. Peter Farrell on August 18. wrong. Kalid on July 18. wrong.Everyone‘s view is welcome for me. use it! (and share!) 179. reading your blog is much like a dream come true for me like most of the others. 2011 at 9:02 am said: @mitrajyoti: Thanks for the kind words! I‘m working on an analogy for differentiation too — I think I‘d like to avoid explicit mention of slope (at first) just because it‘s another concept to learn. Kalid on August 18. 178. i get the concept of familiarity to algebra and using the concept to solve equations from calculus. But how to show that slope calculation is the opposite of calculating the area under the same curve? I will post as soon as I find some analogy.

I don‘t normally read the comments. .further and further and all of its matter threw a very delicate process of gravity+force… best way to describe would be taking a pebble and dropping it in a pond and watching it ripple…. However. so depending on how much force is in the explosion there could very well be gravity or some other force constructed by this explosion. And after reading the comments. Michelle on August 30. explosions have gravity and explosions would also die out over time. but their conclusions are premised on the belief that God does not exist. 1) The end result of evolution is to render God superfluous. I could not resist putting in my own two cents.‖ Evolutionists maintain that their conclusions are purely scientific. eg. or at the very least. Religion is defined (according to the Oxford dictionary) as ―the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power. especially a personal God or gods. 2011 at 6:12 am said: well if anyone can give me any tips on how to move forward my email is ranmalrac@yahoo 185. but this time I was curious to see what others thought of the evolution-calculus parallel. 2011 at 12:00 pm said: Thanks for a wonderful and well-written article! As both a college student and a math tutor. CD on August 23. CD on August 23. I have found many of your posts helpful. thus would be causing the universe to act like a ripple and would send galaxy‘s and other things in space in an up and down motion while expanding… again this is just a thought i had and would like to work on it 183. was not vital to the creation of the universe. 2011 at 6:10 am said: so no advise on any other learning points? 184. To my mind they are inseparable. again just doing this all for fun but would love to try and test this theory with math 182. CD on August 19. for religion is the lens through which we interpret the world. 2011 at 9:43 pm said: i guess what i am trying to say with this is that force. I do not have a problem with mixing science and religion.

all of a sudden the area under the curve made sense. . And. Calculating the area under the curve is exceedingly easy when plugging the iterator value into the function. but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. Kalid on September 11. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done. 2011 at 11:59 pm said: @Erica: Yay! Happy it worked 188. with my limited human mind. it would always have been regular and in a certain general order. Learning computer programming simplifies this entirely. ―In whatever manner God created the world. T 187. am able to recognize. 2011 at 3:35 pm said: Great article! I struggled with calculus until a class in Statistics. all this is is integration from one value to another. …‖ – Leibniz ―Gravity explains the motions of the planets.‖ 186. there are yet people who say there is no God. here is a quote from Einstein: ―In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I. Take a for-loop. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.2) I find it very interesting that the ―fathers of calculus‖ (Newton and Leibniz) both believed God had major role in the creation of the universe. Erica on September 10.‖ – Newton How peculiar that two men who were so ―wrong‖ about a subject as crucial as the origin of the universe would be able to formulate a subject as intricate as calculus. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Scott on September 20. just for the record. 2011 at 5:44 am said: you have no idea the ―aha‖ moment I had just reading this 1 article.

2011 at 2:47 pm said: @Don: Thanks for the note. but that‘s a great analogy! 190. 2011 at 2:07 pm said: WOW! er a-ha never took trig or calculus in high school because the theoms and postulates (spelling?) really turned me off. and how it was/is derived makes it so easy. God knows how long it will take me to get through the rest of the pages but I am expecting the finest of steak dinners. This page has sorta helped me understand it but i still want to know how to do an equation that someone gives me. Aj meunier on October 29. 2011 at 3:39 pm said: @Scott: Thanks! I hadn‘t thought of the programming for loop. Thank you 191. then crying with joy. My math teacher teaches all levels of math from 10-2 to calculus and he teaches me 10-2 now so im ready because i asked him for help but its still hard to understand calculus and what the equation equals to. genuinely enjoyable. 194. but was so discouraged by memorization of formulas without any practical examples. 192. kalid on November 14. that i could not continue. I have begun the understanding of calculus. and i can honestly say that if I had had an instructor/professor that explained it like you did my life would be completely different. I‘m really happy it helped! One of my biggest insights was that once you get over the frustration. So much education is focused on memorization because that‘s the easiest thing to measure (and usually the first thing we forget!). that was 30 years ago. 2011 at 7:45 pm said: .189. Thanks again for the comment. Gordon Knight on November 14. Kalid on September 20. 2011 at 9:20 am said: So im only in grade 8 but i really wanna know calculus because i hate when people know it and it makes me feel dumb. I loved and still do love physics. 193. the first time i was ever told what pi is. Kalid on October 17. 2011 at 5:55 pm said: By Page 2 I was laughing my head off. Thank you for being. Don Nyberg on October 17. learning can become truly.

I know I was!! Thanks dude. Marvin K. 2011 at 6:24 pm said: WoW! This is an exceptionally ―cool‖ way of looking at this subject that is typically considered lackluster and dry. I love the excitement of @rash: Awesome! Glad it was helpful having a tough idea finally click. it‘d be like separating sin into s*in)! But the intuition comes when you can separate the ideas and play with them a bit. kalid on November 30. 197. kalid on December 4. (the point in implicit differentiation when you could separate dx and dy was a complete shock to me. I totally know what you mean. thank you for the heartfelt comment.@Gordon: Wow. but in ―rigorous‖ math you aren‘t (as you say. 2011 at 6:51 pm said: . Thanks for the comment. and it‘s the greatest feeling when i do. i still occasionally get an ‗aha!‘ moment. i thought it was like splitting sin into si * n or something). I‘d like to write more about this topic. we learn what we can as we can (just like there‘s no race to read every book). 2011 at 3:36 pm said: THANK YOU! i‘ve always been a bit disappointed that maths (at pre-uni and uni level) never seems to be intuitive to me the way it was when i was a kid. That‘s a good point about separating dy/dx into ―dy‖ and ―dx‖ — in physics you are allowed to. rash on November 30. BOOKMARKED. I‘ve realized there‘s no race in math. 2011 at 6:30 pm said: @Marvin: Thanks (and please don‘t go home). 195. I had my aha! moment for what dy/dx really means probably over a year after i started using it. I find anything can be fascinating if presented properly! . when i noticed the slope of a straight line was just the differential which was just difference in y/ difference in x and the one for integration was only a couple of months ago (over two years since i learnt it). it made my day . Mooney on December 4. 198. If more kids could be exposed to this article alone I‘m sure they would be given hope in terms of their interest in Math. but it‘s often after months (or years) of using them to calculate things without really understanding. looking forward to more aha! moments from this site 196. Really glad it clicked for you.

202. 204. it is very interesting subject to learn. I like tau as well. kalid on December 22. unfortunately the definitions we see in math books are ones that have been refined over thousands of years to the most precise possible. Husam on January 10. 2012 at 1:41 pm said: @Husam: Yes.199. I don‘t know if you are familiar with tau (tauday. 2012 at 12:46 am said: good work. although i understood the concept of continuity from its graph but just cant understand this definition.g. but my book defines calculus concepts so confusingly e. 2012 at 11:39 am said: . Let tau=2pi. I like the idea. octave communication on January 11. 200. ―A f(x) is said to be continuous at a point x=c in its domain if for a given Є > 0. kalid on January 10. It‘s like describing a cat using its DNA sequence instead of saying ―it‘s a 4-legged animal with whiskers and a tail. 203. and I am stunned why this accident did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it. 2012 at 10:01 am said: Valuable info. they fill so many bloody greek symbols in them that it becomes so complicated. ankastre on January 18.com) but it is a good way to introduce new people to the concepts being discussed without an errant factor of 2 in there (or a 1/2 missing). 2011 at 9:10 am said: Hi. Bill on December 21. 201. i was thinking about calculus. there exists δ > 0. such that |f(x)-f(c)|<Є for all |x-c|< δ" that i was totally confused. It helps people break away from a memorized formula and think about what the concept of pi really is. Lucky me I discovered your web site unintentionally. here is definition of continuity as per my book.‖ The DNA sequence is more ―precise‖ but not helpful for a beginner. 2011 at 10:45 am said: @Bill: Thanks.

etc. etc. I‘ll be putting together a mailing list for these future projects. 2012 at 6:16 am said: Hi. Jim on January 24.com/calculus. kalid on January 30. or are you teaching now. I think you‘ll very much enjoy this musing on infinitesimals v limits: http://www. Andrei on February 28. Most likely.great post. 2012 at 9:30 am said: Mr. 2012 at 12:24 pm said: . Also. excellent article as always. Jim 206.htm Thanks again for another gem of an introduction. a complete course on Calculus that follows the illustrative method you use above? If so. many thanks. please let me know as I would very much like to take such a course. Thank you for the encouragement though.) for practice problems. @eaca: Glad you liked it. 2012 at 4:04 pm said: @Jim: Thank you for the comment! I‘d love to make a calculus course once I have enough material available — this year I‘m planning on cranking up the calculus content so hopefully it will be available sometime in the near future. I am anxious to start. Please advise. eaca on January 30. Azad. 207. thank again plase 205.friesian. let me know what the cost would be for such a course. MIT Open courseware. kalid on January 24. Do you plan to teach. and thanks for the link — checking it out now 209. Thanks and Regards. 2012 at 11:39 am said: . it will focus on developing intuition and using other online courseware (Khan Academy. 208.

@Andrei: Haha. The trick: to measure the difference from 2^2 to 3^2.taking the example of area of circle.1. so after 10 jumps the total error is only . 7. x^2=(4. such as 2^2 to 2.1^2 to 2. At some point.9. I was like ―ARRGHHHHH!!!!‖. However. What about taking a smaller step. we take tiny.When you unrolled the circles.01 = 2*x*(. and eventually becomes negligible. and 2.01.40 + . our error rate is shrinking faster than our step rate.11). For small steps.16. You‘ll notice that the change between x and x^2 (2x + 1) is actually dependent on the size of the change you are measuring. the difference is 4. If you are jumping from 2^2 to 3^2. Sudharshan Gomadam on March 5.41 – 4 = . 2012 at 10:33 am said: Kalid – great site and great service to mankind ! on the same subject.5). kalid on March 5.1 in front of us.3.1^2.000001. 2012 at 10:48 am said: . In this case. we can make the steps small enough to be ―accurate enough‖ for our needs (there‘s always some error threshold we can work within).1) + (.0 and a change of 9 – 4 = 5 = 2x + 1.000001.1^2? We‘re only jumping to the number . and so on… the error at each stage is (.4. we‘d have a total error of . you take a ―step‖ of 1. jumping from 2 to 3 in steps of . the rate of change area would be differentiation of PI*r^2 which is equal to 2PI*r.2^2. microscopic steps which means the error term is some microscopic amount squared (micro-microscopic). if we take real numbers say x=(2.1 gives a total error of .1)^2 = .1. don‘t jump all at once.9. This is equal to 2x+1 and not 2x.25). the change is 5(9-4 etc). Find the difference from 2^2 to 2. Thank you! 210. If we jumped in steps of . What am i missing here? 211. . awesome — glad it clicked @Sudharshan: Great question. This intuitively seems to make sense as every small change in radius will lead to increase in area by the circumference we know that differentiation of x^2 is 2x ( I know the derivation using limits – X+h etc).1)^2 You‘ll see that the ―error term‖ is based on how far you step! In Calculus. So.

we use the pythagorean theorem to see h = sqrt(r^2 – w^2) [where w is the width of the current disc and h is the height]. Wikipedia went about deriving the volume of a sphere on a completely different manner and when I differentiate the formula for the volume I get the formula for the surface area of a sphere. Anonymous on May 30. 2012 at 6:12 pm said: i love calculus:) 214. for a total of 4/3 pi * r^3.I plan on writing more about this! 212. In order to properly measure the discs. to express this in a geometrial manner? Because that would make calculating shapes above the third dimension very easy. What is the relation between these results? Is there a way to continuously integrate the equations in order to make ―dimensional leaps‖ or better yet. If you assume a ―flat line‖ curve for the discs. 2) Getting the volume for the sphere by building it up is tricky. 215. but after applying the formula it doesn‘t seem to be working. Forseon on April 5. Braxton on June 15. Is it possible to integrate the volume of the sphere using the same method only with a pyramid? I tried using r*2pir as the base of the the pyramid and pir^2 as the height. you are actually building a cone [you might have come up with this formula]. the bottom half is the same. 2012 at 6:30 pm said: @Forseon: Great questions! 1) Differentiating the volume formula and getting the surface area formula is a way of ―peeling‖ there sphere layer-by-layer (similar to making a disc out of a bunch of rings. 213. kalid on June 12. 2012 at 10:52 am said: Hey I have a question. you can make a sphere out of a bunch of ―peels‖ layered on top of each other). I need to do a follow-up. but you end up seeing the top half of the sphere is 2/3 pi * r^3. 2012 at 10:54 pm said: .

I‘ve ALWAYS struggled with calculus (math in general). After reading this. I actually feel that I would actually like to learn a lot more into this as this gave me a really good view of what Calculus is. thanks! 220. 2012 at 4:50 pm said: .‖ well said! 216. 2012 at 1:38 pm said: I love you and want your babies. I‘m a liberal arts person but has always found math fascinating. This is exciting yet daunting especially since I am doing this on my own and not in a class.I have never really bothered to read anything into calculus. Richard on July 18. Anonymous on July 18. 2012 at 1:35 pm said: These are some wise words. Al on July 21. This single article has taught me more (in terms of real understanding) than my last 24 years of schooling. 2012 at 7:18 pm said: I like what you said. 2012 at 5:56 am said: The reason i luv calculus is dat‖it reveals us 2 mechanical engneering. Two Weeks ago I read an article on quantum entanglment and since then have been trying to figure out how to learn more. which I haven‘t really done for over 20 years. 2012 at 5:20 pm said: This helped a lot. Thank you for describing it in a manner my liberal arts mind not only understood but enjoyed. Charles on June 19. The education system does try and crush my love for maths but this has assisted to allow me to look past that and focus on the beauty of the subject. Margaret on June 19. and algebra solves them. I do this so that I can really understand what people are saying about entanglement. and well learning is always a good thing. 217.in Thermodynamic courre. 219. It always ―seemed‖ like it would be extremely difficult to even grasp what it was. In doing so I am now trying to re learn algebra. 218. ―Algebra & calculus are a problem-solving duo: calculus finds new equations. kalid on July 24.I look forward to my journey in the math world. Thank you 221.

the anatomy of the eye‖ is a program found in a gene called The Master Eye Gene found by Dr. three times to pass Calc 2. Probably half the students flunked out of Parks College because of Calc. really glad it clicked with you! 223. Walter Gehring. JOHN on October 11. Thank you. JOHN on October 11. calculus expands your understanding of how Nature works. how does your statement [Like evolution. 2012 at 4:50 pm said: @Al: Thanks. 2012 at 10:29 pm said: .You will see how rigid and awesome it is later…. I wish I had you as an instructor 40 years ago! 227. kalid on July 24. but be patient…. . never used any of it in the next 40 years. kalid on October 26. full of theorems. Had to take Calc 1 three times to pass.@Anonymous: Really glad you liked it! @Richard: You‘re welcome! 222. and you have an excellent knack of simple explanation. . not a bit of common sense real world problems solved or real world applications shown. 226. NATURE IS PROGRAMMED! And.everything is so beautifully connected…. Vinay on September 24.] Evolution doesn‘t explain how nature is programmed? Yes. 2012 at 5:20 am said: If nature is programmed. But I feel to this day presentations were awful. 2012 at 7:48 pm said: I had a terrible time with calculus at Parks College of St Louis University in early 1970s.it is hazy in the beginning. Who is th programmer? Who wrote or created the CODE? 225. TIP: Ask questions and show curiosity till you understand everything… 224. Pete Schoeninger on October 21. 2012 at 11:15 pm said: Calculus is a very lovely subject…. 2012 at 5:35 am said: ―. Reading your stuff tonight was a great refresher.

wrap it with string. he devised techniques that became the foundations of calculus.com/articles/prehistoric-calculus-discovering-pi/ Prehistoric Calculus: Discovering Pi Pi is mysterious. Yashvardhan Tomar on October 28. Could you find pi? Archimedes found pi to 99. thanks for the note. It‘s really sad. 2012 at 8:45 pm said: Good work Kalid!! I was already 200% into mathematics and now my interest grew 400% after reading the article! You got a lot of lot of experience.Hi Pete. you are SUPERAWESOME and very very brainy! Thanks… http://betterexplained.that‘s for sure! Congratulations and keep up the good work! btw……are all the articles written by you? If yes. we ―learn‖ things that are never internalized and we‘re stuck in the same spot after the class. But what if you had no textbooks. How do we find pi? Pi is the circumference of a circle with diameter 1. you ―know‖ it‘s about 3. and measure with your finest ruler.9% accuracy 2000 years ago — without decimal points or even the number zero! Even better. Use door #3 What‘s behind door #3? Math! . and no calculus (egads!) — just your brain and a piece of paper. . Draw a circle with a steady hand. I wish I learned his discovery of pi in school — it helps us understand what makes calculus tick.14159 because you read it in some book. no intuition for the subject. Sure. How do we get that number?    Say pi = 3 and call it a day. Really happy things resonated with you 228. no computers.

or pi = 3.52) = . but for kicks let‘s draw it between two squares: Neat — it‘s like a racetrack with inner and outer edges. Let‘s say it‘s halfway between. square. we find their perimeters easily:   Outside square: side = 1. But he didn‘t fret. Whatever the circumference is. so let‘s go with that.7 [Thanks. and started with what he did know: the perimeter of a square.52 + . Squares drool. it‘s somewhere between the perimeters of the squares: more than the inside. octagons rule . well. We don‘t know a circle‘s circumference.7 = 2. Pythagoras]. (He actually used hexagons.8 and 4. And since squares are.How did Archimedes do it? Archimedes didn‘t know the circumference of a circle. less than the outside.8 We may not know where pi is. perimeter = 4 * . ok?). but squares are easier to work with and draw.4. but that critter is scurrying between 2. perimeter = 4 Inside square: side = sqrt(.

increasing the sides (using the mythical octagon. . What are their perimeters again? Crickey. one segment of the outside perimeter is tan(45) = 1.7. for an inside perimeter of 8 * sin(45/2).4. those are tough questions. where x is the angle spanning a side. as we had before. but honestly we‘d be better off with the ruler and string. we get closer to the shape of a circle. Luckily. Octogons have eight 45-degree angles. They don‘t match the circle well. While we‘re at it.8. So. error-filled calculation. we could use a 16-side-a-gon and a 32-do-decker for better guesses. Outside perimeter: One segment of the outside is tan(x/2).7 = 2. for a total perimeter of 4. where x is the angle spanning one side. and the gaps make for a loose. Neat — we have a simple formula! Adding more sides makes the angle smaller:   Squares have an inside perimeter of 4 * sin(90/2). Archimedes used creative trigonometry to devise formulas for the perimeter of shape when you double the number of sides: Inside perimeter: One segment of the inside (such as the side of a square) is sin(x/2). But. For example. one side of the inside square is sin(90/2) = sin(45) ~ . So.We estimated pi = 3. The full perimeter is then 4 * . What makes our guess so bad? Squares are clunky. what‘s the perimeter of an octagon? I‘m not sure if I learned that formula. perhaps) might give us a tighter fit and a better guess (image credit): Cool! As we yank up the sides.

he used trig identities to rewrite sin and tan in terms of their previous values:   New outside perimeter New inside perimeter = = [harmonic mean] [geometric mean] These formulas just use arithmetic — no trig required. so we‘ll save that battle for another day. we make our way to a better pi (download the spreadsheet): .Try it out — a square (sides=4) has 91% accuracy. we can repeatedly apply this formula to increase the number of sides and get a better guess for pi. Cranking the formula Starting with 4 sides (a square). those special means show up in strange places. and with an octagon (sides=8) we jump to 98%! But there‘s a problem: Archimedes didn‘t have a calculator with a ―sin‖ button! Instead. don‘t they? I don‘t have a nice intuitive grasp of the trig identities involved. Since we started with known numbers like sqrt(2) and 1. By the way.

which is over 99.  Let’s make our guess better. 32. our guess for pi is as accurate as Excel. We had a guess for pi: somewhere between 2. There‘s even better formulas out there too. Where’s the Calculus? Archimedes wasn‘t ―doing calculus‖ but he laid the groundwork for its development: start with a crude model (square mimicking a circle) and refine it. let alone spreadsheets. 22/7 is merely the upper bound found by Archimedes 2000 years ago!‖ while adjusting your monocle.8 and 4. His final estimate for pi. After 7 steps (512 sides) we have the lauded ―five nines‖. Not a bad technique. Let‘s assume pi is halfway between the inside and outside boundaries. 8. 24. Archimedes! Unfortunately. So Archimedes had to slave away with these formulas using fractions. 96 until he‘d had enough (ever try to take a square root using fractions alone?). or half a million sides. decimals hadn‘t been invented in 250 BC. Calculus has many concepts such as Taylor Series to build a guess with varying degrees of accuracy.Every round. 64) and shrink the range where pi could be hiding. we double the sides (4. but we’ve got a guess. There are numerical methods to refine a formula again and again. was: The midpoint puts pi at 3.99999%) estimate of pi and was the best humanity had for nearly a millennium. 48. 16.9% accurate. After 3 steps (32 sides) we already have 99. Archimedes discovered that adding sides made a better estimate. the mysteriously symmetrical 355/113 is an extremely accurate (99. but now you can chuckle ―Good grief. . using a shape with 96 sides. He began with hexagons (6 sides) and continued 12. Not too shabby! If you enjoy fractions. And after 17 steps. For example. Some people use 22/7 for pi.14185. Calculus revolves around these themes:  We don’t know the answer.9% accuracy.

which in turn led to better formulas for pi. We didn‘t know exactly where pi was. calculus defines the rules about equations that get better over time. usable results. but it‘s hard to think about abstract equations that are repeatedly refined. perhaps you can start with a rough version and improve it over time. Ironically. we knew pi was hiding somewhere inside.  You can run but not hide. Whether making estimates or writing software. Just start cranking away and stop when pi is good enough. but trapped it between two boundaries. without fretting about the perfect model (it worked for Archimedes!). This is formally known as the Squeeze Theorem. Math Lessons Calculus often lacks an intuitive grounding — we can count apples to test arithmetic. instead of learning new ideas in a vacuum. Finding pi is a process that never ends. Sometimes the best is the enemy of the good. Life Lessons Even math can have life lessons hidden inside. . I‘ll say it again: Good enough is good enough.‖.computers can start with a rough guess for the square root and make it better (faster than finding the closest answer from the outset). Examples like this help use intuition as a starting point. As we tightened up the outside limits (pun intended). A shape with 96 sides was accurate enough for anything Archimedes needed to build. When we see it really means ―You want perfection? That‘s nice — everyone wants something. Most of the accuracy may come from the initial stages. The idea that ―close counts‖ is weird — shouldn‘t math be precise? Math is a model to describe the world. the ―crude‖ techniques seen here led to calculus. and future refinements may be a lot of work for little gain (the Pareto Principle in action). Just like geometry refines our intuition about lines and angles. Our equations don‘t need to be razor-sharp if the universe and our instruments are fuzzy.  Pi is an unreachable ideal. Perfectionism (―I need the exact value of pi!‖) can impede finding good. concrete example for our toolbox. Archimedes‘ discovery of pi is a vivid.

Here's where my head is at: . Intuitively. Other Posts In This Series 1.  Q: How exactly can the circumference of a circle be an irrational number? (More.. = 1 6. Understanding Calculus With A Bank Account Metaphor 9. Calculus: Building Intuition for the Derivative 8. Why Do We Need Limits and Infinitesimals? 5.. How To Understand Derivatives: The Product. A Gentle Introduction To Learning Calculus 2. Math Share what worked: Aha moments & FAQ Let's create a living reference for how best to understand this topic. isn't it? How can it be irrational? Kalid Great question. and Logarithms 1 Category: Calculus. but the measurement of the circumference of a circle is a finite quantity. so I'm probably missing something. I don't have a great answer..999.) 2❤7 by Josie · full discussion page I haven't completed Algebra 2 yet..Later. How To Understand Derivatives: The Quotient Rule. We‘ve all got our limits. we‘ll discuss what it means for numbers to be ―close enough‖. A Calculus Analogy: Integrals as Multiplication 7. Power & Chain Rules 10. Learning Calculus: Overcoming Our Artificial Need for Precision 4. Just remember that 96 sides was good enough for Archimedes. Prehistoric Calculus: Discovering Pi (This post) 3. Exponents. A Friendly Chat About Whether 0. and half a million sides is good enough for Excel.

long time to figure out that pi wasn't rational. and legend has it they excommunicated/drowned a student who proved the irrationality of the square root of 2.A circle is a shape with infinite sides -. It is a true that our science becomes materialistic and I studied electrical engineering on that way. yes. It caused a lot of trouble when it was discovered too).. but a little bit of colorful history never hurts. and they didn't come till the 18th century! So it took a long.so we've never created a perfect one (even a drawn circle is a bunch of ink atoms. which help me understand why they could be irrational (we can't assign a set number of sides to a circle. Your name Add comment  God is one (More.it is not my native language. irrational numbers still count as 'finite. so I express myself on english not as I want. linked together in a giant polygon). I looked on Wikipedia and there are some proofs that pi is irrational. In my head.. pi (and e) are the result of continually changing processes.. but are still perfectly normal numbers. But still hard to think about! (If it helps. Probably not true.we just can't write them 'exactly' in decimal form.' They have an infinite number of decimal places. The Pythagoreans. Joe Also. but as I can. didn't believe in irrational numbers.) ❤1 by Soulreader · full discussion page I appologize at start if my english is not perfect ... or a set number of steps to e). . I will try to express my opinion on the best possible way.. the square root of 2 is irrational. who took their math seriously in a religious manner. never thinking about spiritual way of what I learned untill one day. and it's just the diagonal of a 1x1 square.

combination .. only streight lines . and not only that.6. but it is hard to fit them. but on some way opposite. Each number has its own pair 01. curves . Calculus really makes a great deal of sense and I don't understand why the classroom makes it so excruciatingly bland. Thanks!!! . To measure curve line . combination .. as comparing soul and body and find the corelation.7.. only curves . isn't it? So. 34. Now place them in the number pi.as comparering good and evel and find the corelation. I was scouring for Calculus books that took a more intuitive approach to the subject and found nothing.curve.3. streight line . streight lines .012345678910 ..5..9. As long you go from digit to digit of the number pi you will find out .but only as a forms. This is the closest that I could find.2.4. combination . 69. at the end is circle .when I figured out something about the numbers and I find the open book in front of myself that never ends. Squering the circle means also to be able to measure how long some curve line is.. 78. 25. narrow and unsecure path very few people are following on the right way these days. how to generate its next digit.0. holding faith in their souls as a small light of the candel. 10 complicated as much as it is.0. Please watch the numbers . Your name Add comment  Good Enough is Good Enough (More.it means you have to compare it with some streight line.at start was circle.1..Some of them are extremes (only curve or only streight lines) some of them are balance (combination).8. as comparing man and woman and find the corelation.. Squering the circle means to know how to generate number pi. about extremes and about balance.) 1❤1 by Kim · full discussion page You ought to publish your work here. curve . streight line -1.conection between these two is long.. combination .as you go more and more discovering number pi as a multiform you actualy know more about each its digit.. squering the circle is the same as comparing curve line and streight line and finding their corelation.

com » Descubriendo el valor de Pi Pingback: NotasD Pingback: links for 2008-05-30 » Go Web Young Man Pingback: meneame.kalid Wow. ❤1 1 by Anonymous · full discussion page kalid Thank you! Your name Add comment Aha! The insight that helped w as: Post feedback 78 thoughts on “Prehistoric Calculus: Discovering Pi”       Pingback: Selección Digital» microsiervos. Degrees and Radians | BetterExplained . Your philosophy is sound and concern for the beauty of the calculus inspiring. appreciate the encouragement :). Your name Add comment  Very good.net Pingback: Math History on the Internet « Let‘s Play Math! Pingback: Intuitive Guide to Angles. thanks Kim! I'd like to make a calculus book.

or the Buffon Needle problem. and will definitely use the ideas in my classes. but I‘ll keep working on it.My blogwalking journey Pingback: Intuitive Understanding of Sine Waves | BetterExplained Pingback: Pi=4! « The Last Stoic 1. Chad Groft on May 29. but the formulae themselves are wrong as well (on your page. Just some ideas. They should be . Worthwhile talk about how you might estimate pi in other ways. the page you link to gets them right). com « Termites in your Smile… Pingback: Shouting Gorilla Book Blog » Blog Archive » Monday Mornings are for Math Pingback: Understanding Why Similarity ―Works‖ | BetterExplained Pingback: Understanding wHy Similarity ―Works‖ | blogwalking.        Pingback: A Gentle Introduction To Learning Calculus | BetterExplained Pingback: Better Explained « Xavier Seton‘s Blog Pingback: Better Explained . great post. I have no idea where that guy got the trig identities he cites. 2008 at 12:03 pm said: Update: Okay. Maybe they just switch. 2008 at 11:39 am said: I like the article. such as estimating the number co-prime numbers. 3. the harmonic mean is always /smaller/ than the geometric mean. You have the inside perimeter as the geometric mean of the previous estimates.id . The problem is. and the calculator at the end. but I don‘t see how yet. Again. I really liked the formatting too. Chad Groft on May 29. and the outside perimeter as the harmonic mean.web. The page to which you link contains the same mistake. Matt 2. 2008 at 10:19 am said: Great post. I now see I was reading the formulae incorrectly (one refers to newIn rather than Inside). Matthew Bardoe on May 29. but first there is a minor problem to solve.

Kalid on May 29. . glad you enjoyed it! Those are great suggestions. It misinterpreted what I typed as html. I talked (a lot) about Archimedes‘ discovery that 223/71 5. I talked (a lot) about Archimedes‘ discovery that 223/71 is less than pi which is less than 22/7. 2008 at 2:26 pm said: The comment form just ate my last comment. though I focused more on the concept than the mathematics behind it.newOut = harmonicMean(Inside. but the needle approach is a fun way to look at probability. I think it‘d be great for a follow-up. newOut) which is what you use in the spreadsheet. Zac on May 29. Although. In my email to you about writing a guest article. Zac on May 29. so maybe I should write about that… 7. I had one that this article just destroys. I didn‘t want to distract from the calculus roots too much in this post. I figured it out. I have no idea why that is. 2008 at 2:23 pm said: In my email to you about writing a guest article. 2008 at 5:23 pm said: @Matt: Thanks. Outside) and newIn = geometric(Inside. I had one that this article just destroys. 2008 at 2:27 pm said: Okay. Zac on May 29. I continued on from there: 223/71 6. 4. your square root comment made me think: I have a better explanation for Newton‘s method than you had in the Quake Square Root article.

Zac on May 30. tekumse on May 30. Kalid on May 30. 2008 at 12:57 am said: Thanks Brijesh! Yep. Why is it obvious that the outside square and futhermore 512-sided-thingy has bigger perimeter? 11. it‘s somewhere between the perimeters of the squares: more than the inside. For some reason. if you have ideas for the square root method feel free to write them down — once the contribution wiki is up I‘m sure it‘ll be a nice addition 8. we know pi because we‘ve seen it before. 2008 at 8:46 pm said: Reading a little more into pi and the ways of calculuating it seem to always lead me to Taylor Series. 2008 at 10:22 pm said: hey nice one there for a quick look . 10. appreciate the effort! 9. Brijesh Tripathi on May 29. but it‘s nice to see how we came to that result. It would be nice to really understand what‘s going on there. Pi is a fun number. 12. Sure. although we know the value of pi after all those yrs of forced insertion of the value into our heads. @Zac: No worries — I should probably install a live preview plugin so people will know when their comment is getting eaten / mistaken for HTML. less than the outside. I decided to memorize it to 50 decimal places. the spreadsheet should have the correct ones.@Chad: Sorry about the confusion there! Yes. 2008 at 11:13 pm said: . but this gives a better insight to the derivation in a way. . I made a major flub and miswrote the equations (just corrected it). 2008 at 7:36 am said: Please explain this: >Whatever the circumference is. The fact that it‘s impossible to calculate exactly just makes it even more fun to try and find more. Miguel Martinez on May 30.

The area of the circumscribed shape is greater than or equal to the area of the circle. I want to think about it more to see if I can find some insights that link it to everyday analogies .Well. Therefore.My favorite subject is MATH. 2008 at 12:39 pm said: @tekumse: That‘s an interesting question. since all points are inside the boundary.com 14.And I never going to understand the way americans do math. sometimes it‘s good to break down these assumptions.Also I found and america you guys solve math problems outside down.1416. Kalid on June 1. cheeese burger on June 1. For similar shapes. octagons. the greater area corresponds to a greater side length (see the Pythagorean theorem for more details). And 50 digits of pi is pretty precise. 2008 at 2:56 pm said: this guy says pi is 3.And if I‘m not wrong 22/7 is not a correct anwser. The formal name for the inside shape is ―inscribed‖ and the formal name for the outside shape is ―circumscribed‖. . the area of the inscribed polygon is less than or equal to the area of the circumscribed shape. Hope this helps. Since we are using similar shapes (squares.I‘m from Lima. since all points are outside the boundary.and II want tobe a math teacher.For us ―PI‖is=3. Anonymous on May 31. enough to estimate the size of the universe to 1 atom‘s precision. They made ones with roughly 30-100 sides according to my research. I wish I dont make mad noone with my comments. I think. etc.154700 http://www. @Zac: Yep.Perú.dinbali.) the circumscribed shape will have a larger side length (and perimeter) than the inscribed one. 15. 2008 at 8:52 am said: Dude the chinese made a much better version than Archimedes sooner. The area of the inscribed shape is less than or equal to the area of the circle. 13. 16-gons. the Taylor series will be fun.not even that 223/71.

@Miguel: Thanks for the comment. Kalid on June 2.8 17. the comment form may have eaten your comment. and sqrt(2) can be approximated using various algorithms: it‘s more than 1. 1/sqrt(2) comes from the Pythagorean theorem — it‘s actually sqrt(2)/2 (which is the same thing). 20. not an exact value. u can knock this down to 22/7 19. 2008 at 2:55 pm said: . Ashwin Mudigonda on June 2. but it isn‘t as accurate as 355/113. 2008 at 8:06 pm said: Hi phyu.1416) is just an estimate for pi. 2008 at 11:09 pm said: Hi Ashwin. Not sure if that was the question but feel free to ask again. 22/7 is an approximation for pi. Kalid on June 5. 18. phyu on June 5. It‘s more than 5/4 (5/4 squared = 25/16 which is less than 2). Holy on June 6. sorry about the form. and less than 6/4 (6/4 squared is 36/16 which is more than 2). @Anonymous: Don‘t believe everything you read! @Cheeseburger: That‘s interesting. 16. I think most students know 22/7 (or 3. less than 2. Archimedes made this technique famous but others may have used it as well. 2008 at 10:42 am said: I have a question at the very first assumption in the two squares case: How did you make the assumption (assuming precalculus and calculator days and all that) that 2. 2008 at 3:49 pm said: in your spreadsheet pi = 355/133 . glad you like math. Check out the ―Cranking the Formula‖ section for more details.

23. which falls right in line with the numeration given in Kalid‘s chart. First of all. 2008 at 4:02 am said: Quite an enlightening article. 2008 at 7:26 am said: Hi Karl. 2008 at 10:08 am said: @Holy: Thanks for the comment and additional details! @Anna: Glad you enjoyed it! Don‘t think I‘ve ever met anyone with a pi tattoo but that‘s pretty intriguing . thanks for the article. Kalid on June 9. . anna on June 6. 2008 at 6:38 am said: Hi there. The basics are all so clearly explained. Karl on June 29. Yep.@ phyu 355/113 actually simplifies to 22/~7. 2008 at 8:59 pm said: such a great article! i was really happy that you included that little bit of life lesson at the end there. just bigger. so the formula should be the same with larger values for x. Jo on June 28. but it‘s driving me nuts! My intuition keeps telling me that the inside perimeter (sin(x/2) above) and outside perimeter (tan(x/2) above) should be the same equation – it‘s the same shape. not just teach facts. that‘s a great question! I had to think about it a bit. Kalid on June 29. always nice to see some interesting math facts! 21. Can you tell me what I‘m missing? 25. Thank you very much. I think I‘ve got a silly question. 24.. I think math (or any subject) should enhance your outlook. i have a tattoo of pi to remind myself that life doesn‘t always make perfect sense :] 22.0028169014084507042253521126761 the higher up in the fractions you go the farther from 7 the bottom number becomes. Also @ Kalid very nice job in the compilation.

Looking closer. Both make perfect sense to me but I‘m still blown away by eulers identity ( e(i. What is the meaning of this relation between e. Phew . the two shapes (large and small square. but scaled by 1/cos(x/2). scaled by some amount. 27. Geo on February 15. is there an intuitive way to look at this you are aware of ? 28.. Again. 2008 at 7:39 am said: @Jo: Thanks. glad it was helpful. great question — sin(x/2) and tan(x/2) are really the same formula. There is an intuitive way to approach Euler‘s identity that I‘d like to write about (the book Visual Complex Analysis has a take on it. 2008 at 7:58 am said: Great articles Kalid. large and small octagon) should have the same formula. Basically. and we were thought about e through continuous growth. enki on December 2. The tricky thing is to realize that x/2 (the angle) should be *the same* in both cases. 2009 at 11:20 am said: The minimum number of side to get 100% accuracy is 4070364 .You‘re right. sorry about the late response. think I missed this. 26. (as in the article on e on this site). You want to start with a formula (call it f(x) ) and scale it by some amount. Kalid on June 29. Kalid on January 11. called C: f(x) and C * f(x). the angles don‘t change no matter what size square you have. which I highly recommend). any similar insights or an intuitive approach you could share on eulers identity ? This explanation for pi is the one we were actually thought in school. giving us the scaling factor we need.pi)+1 = 0 ). 2009 at 12:08 am said: @enki: Whoops. and tan(x/2) is really sin(x/2) / cos(x/2). i and pi . this is what‘s happening: sin(x/2) is the basic formula. 29. you can view it as a linkage between growth and rotation — but I‘ll be writing about this topic in the future. So tan(x/2) is always larger than sin(x/2). the division will actually be a multiplication or scaling. Since cosine is between 0-1.

After all. more accurate the value of pi. . Kalid on March 29. The problem with drawing and measuring a circle is that there‘s no such thing as a perfect circle.‖ 32.30. 2009 at 2:26 pm said: @rishi: Great question. Anything you draw is just a collection of points (each drop of ink. Kalid on February 20. 2009 at 8:00 am said: I don‘t understand why pi is an irrational number. I like it! 33. 2009 at 5:53 pm said: @Geo: Yep. just a very close guess. but it won‘t be ―pi‖. I can‘t see how a constant derived by real division can be an irrational number. maybe with billions of sides. Kalid on July 15. 2009 at 4:20 pm said: Great article. . 35. Jeff on March 29. 2009 at 5:55 pm said: @Jeff: Hah. We can measure the circumference of this polygon. or each molecule of ink!) and is therefore a very large polygon. 34. we could have added more sides and got a better guess. Can‘t you just measure the circumference accurately and then divide by the diameter – there you have a rational fraction. rishi on July 15. 2009 at 11:35 am said: i have derived a formula for pi which approximates the value of pi. that‘s the point at which the calculator can‘t tell the difference 31. This is one of the reasons why I have heard the circle referred to as an ―infinigon. pi = lim n*cos((180/n) – 90) n->infinity higher the value of n. i have derived it based on inscribing a polygon in circle. variable n represents number of sides of polygon. balakrishnan on April 21.

but find the title a little misleading. 38. Hope this helps! 36. 2009 at 7:44 am said: I like the write-up very much.One way to see the irrational. Kalid on July 16. Sapan on August 8. 2009 at 11:48 am said: @Eric: Great question! I think another article would be warranted for that general idea of proving that all circles are similar (proportional to each other). Simon on August 12.edu. similarly with geometric mean? 39. however. Without that. In fact. To many. the ―discovery of pi‖ is the realization that the ratio of circumference to diameter is the same for ALL circles. You give a good description of applying Archimedes method of calculating the numerical value of pi.html but yes. Why is newOut being derived from the perimeter of the previous inside and previous outside. Thanks for the suggestion. 2009 at 4:16 am said: The idea that the newOutside is the harmonic mean and the newInside is the geometric mean is not very intuitive. 37. Eric on July 16. neverending decimal is to consider pi the result of an infinite process (adding more and more sides to a polygon to approximate a circle). this type of successive approximation is useful for computing many other interesting values as well. we wouldn‘t be talking about the circumference of a unit circle. it‘d be a great topic. Adding an intuitive description of that discovery to your write-up would really make it shine. 2009 at 8:48 pm said: .maths. There is an ancient proof here: http://school.uwa. one we can approximate but never write out completely. nor would that value have a special name (pi).au/~schultz/3M3/L6Euclid.

I thought i may have stumbled on something new but later i found out it was not so. I‘m returning to calculus after 20 years and your article is helping me finally internalize something I‘ve never grasped before. Using my PC i was able to calculate pi to a million decimal places rather quickly (i did a text-compare with one i found online and it was right). Dedic on September 8. Wonderful post………… I‘m actually a young guy and new to complex stuff but u make it look easy…. 2010 at 3:52 am said: Hi Kalid. 42. glad it was helpful for you! @Sapan: Yes. Kalid on February 27. A question : Is a straight line a part of a large circle ??? 44. 2010 at 2:41 pm said: . I struggle with that too — I don‘t have an intuitive understanding of why it would be the geometric and harmonic mean to figure out those ratios.. 40. Shankar on February 27. 2009 at 12:12 am said: I actually came up with Archimede‘s method on my own but I started with a triangle and kept going with more polygons (basically each side of the triangle got another triangle. Basic geometry got me from the perimeter of one poly to the next. 41. 2009 at 1:51 am said: @Simon: Awesome. 43. Kalid on September 8.Thanks for the great write up. Kalid on August 13. The only interesting thing was that it was recursive and used only basic geometry (right triangles). 2009 at 12:23 am said: @Dedic: That‘s a cool story — there‘s always something to be said for the joy of discovery. and so on). Right now my understanding is at the level of ―the math works‖ . even if you weren‘t the first to do so .

if you rotate the circle only one of the points will be ―rightmost‖.e. Maybe after the 100 billionth number after the decimal point. Shankar on March 6. 2010 at 12:19 am said: And one more thing……… How can we be sure that pi is an irrational number. the 355 days in a Hijri leap year divided by the chapters of The Message (113 chapters) is a very close approximation to PI. will we get a large circle ???? 46. I‘m not sure what you mean — i. you can‘t have both vertically above each other) but reality is quite different .14) a french lady emailed me a gift that further to my Quran and Prime Numbers reseach. Ali Adams on July 2. thus making it a rational number………. 47. .??. is a circle made up of straight line segments? A perfect circle seems never has two points on a perfect line (i. Grate article and will look out for other article by you.however its just a part of a large circle called earth…… So if we keep on extending a straight line on both sides infinitely.What i meant was that a road seems perfectly straight to us……... PI ~= days in a year cycle (circumference) divide by the number of chapters of the message (stright path. 2010 at 1:31 am said: Dear Khalid.e. Regarding: PI ~= 335/113 On PI day (3. 2010 at 11:52 pm said: Hi Kalid……. 45. diameter) Here is a summary for all your readers about the prime numbers in the Quran.@Shankar: Glad you liked it! Hrm. it may repeat itself. Shankar on March 5.

Quran = Key + Message 114 chapters = 1 (Al-Fatiha) + 113 (Remaining chapters) 6236 verses = 7 of The Key + 6229 of The Message The Key has 7 verses, 29 words, 139 letters) all are primes, with prime digit sums (7=7, 2+9=11, 1+3+9=13) and amazingly concatnating them left-to-right (729139) and right-to-left (139297) also primes with primes digit sums (7+2+9+1+3+9=31) The rest can be found at http://www.heliwave.com pr http://www.primalogy.com. Make sure not to miss the 355 days of chapter The Merciful that map to the leap Hijri year 1433AH = 2012 I suspect the Hijir year becomes leap evey PI years Ali Adams God > infinity 48. G. W. Carlisle on July 6, 2010 at 9:41 am said: Great article very informative and helpful, the only think I could see needing some furthre explainging this quote ―faster than finding the closest answer from the outset‖ What is outset? 49. Kalid on July 6, 2010 at 10:14 am said: @GW: Ah, I just meant ―rather than finding the closest answer immediately, from the very beginning‖. 50. Joe on October 25, 2010 at 5:58 am said: Great article. I think one of my face-palming moments was when I realized that pi was the result of infinitely improving the number. (This also helped me to understand transcendental numbers, since you need an infinite series of algebraic formulas to reach it.) a ―PI in the Sky‖ if you like

What I think is particularly interesting is how something infinitely complex can make formulas so simple. Instead of picking an approximation (since, a lot of the time, we don‘t know ahead of time what this should be), we use the pure number ―pi‖ to allow somebody else to approximate later. Not only that, but it makes the formula easier to read as well by encapsulating the complexity in a single constant. Truly beautiful. (Side note: working with image processing and other forms of computer graphics, I sometimes wish ―pi‖ was initially measured with the radius instead of the diameter. That way, we could use the constant itself instead of writing ―2*pi‖ everywhere. The constant really only represents half of the shape of a circle.) 51. Matthew Heardy on December 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm said: I really enjoyed this article, and it makes complete sense why Archimedes used this method, although i would have never thought of it on my own. I liked the style of the writing too, very easy to understand. The one thing is didn‘t understand was the formula for perimeter of the inside and outside shapes. I don‘t understand why we use sin. Other than that great article 52. Joe on January 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm said: Why was this never explained like this in high school? 53. Kalid on February 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm said: @Joe: Thanks for the comment! Yeah, one of the weird things about pi is that it‘s never ―done‖ — i.e., when does a shape with ―infinite‖ sides become a circle? It raises all sorts of interesting philosophical questions too — i.e., we use pi for calculations but will never encounter a perfect circle in the real world. But the beauty, as you say, is that we encapsulate this whole concept into a symbol which is ―use the best approximation of the perfect circle that you can..‖. I agree on the pi vs. 2*pi thing — have you seen http://tauday.com/? @Matthew: Thanks! Great question on the formula — there‘s an explanation on why sine is used here: http://personal.bgsu.edu/~carother/pi/Pi3b.html

but I‘d like to cover it in more depth myself. Thanks again for the note! 54. eczeno on April 23, 2011 at 7:23 am said: this is a wonderful article. thank you. there is only one place where i disagree. I would say that pi can ‗hide but not run‘ instead of the other way around. cheers 55. Kalid on April 24, 2011 at 12:18 am said: @eczeno: Thanks! Yep, to each their favorite phrasing 56. David on July 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm said: Wow!great information on pi this has really widen my view abt maths.maths is becoming interesting to me.thanks 4 making it interesting.i‘ll love 2b a mathematician. 57. mel on October 14, 2011 at 12:38 am said: funny, i just only understood the point of taylor series while reading your article on intro to calculus. and its right on this page! thanks for giving me a wonderful ―Aha!‖ moment. love your site. if you ever watched the movie 3 idiots, you remind me of one character, Rancho. I hope that turned out as a compliment. more success on this and other ideas of yours! .

58. Kalid on October 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm said: @mel: Thanks for the kind words! Really happy the site is helping with those ahas. I haven‘t seen the movie but have heard much about it! 59. Chao on March 29, 2012 at 6:55 am said: Sides = 4037146 is the first here to show up as 100% Accuracy

so I express myself on english not as I want. streight line – 1. only streight lines – 4. combination – 2. . isn‘t it? So. Danylla Alencar on May 2.Just so you don‘t keep trying LIKE I DID. combination – 5. squering the circle is the same as comparing curve line and streight line and finding their corelation… as comparing soul and body and find the corelation… as comparing man and woman and find the corelation…as comparering good and evel and find the corelation. never thinking about spiritual way of what I learned untill one day. and not only that.curve. when I figured out something about the numbers and I find the open book in front of myself that never ends. but I want to read on!! 62. Squering the circle means also to be able to measure how long some curve line is. 2012 at 3:48 am said: Is there another article after this? I‘m probably not looking properly. thanks for helping me realize 63. brooke on June 7.0. but it is hard to fit them. streight . 2012 at 10:14 am said: eu amo estudar sobre o numero pi!!!!!!!!!!!!1 61. 60. I will try to express my opinion on the best possible way. 2012 at 7:40 am said: I appologize at start if my english is not perfect – it is not my native language. but as I can. only curves – 3. how to generate its next digit. To measure curve line – it means you have to compare it with some streight line. Squering the circle means to know how to generate number pi. 2012 at 11:47 am said: @brooke: Check out the ―Calculus‖ category for more on this theme! http://betterexplained. combination – 6. It is a true that our science becomes materialistic and I studied electrical engineering on that way.com/articles/category/math/calculus/ I need to add related posts after each one. Please watch the numbers – 012345678910 – but only as a forms. Soulreader on September 9. kalid on June 8.

2012 at 10:50 am said: the equation above is wrong dipshit. at the end is circle – conection between these two is long.5=c^2 c= √(. 64. it equals the square root of . As long you go from digit to digit of the number pi you will find out – at start was circle. streight line -1. just thought id let you know . frank kerry on October 28.Some of them are extremes (only curve or only streight lines) some of them are balance (combination).5〗^2=c^2 .5) not . 25. 34. 10 complicated as much as it is.lines – 7.5〗^2 〖+ . combination – 9.7. Each number has its own pair 01. holding faith in their souls as a small light of the candel.7 as stated above. about extremes and about balance. 69. Now place them in the number pi…as you go more and more discovering number pi as a multiform you actualy know more about each its digit. pythagoras states in the above equation that a²+b^2=c^2 〖. but on some way opposite.5 . curve – 0. curves – 8. narrow and unsecure path very few people are following on the right way these days. 78. the inner squares side doesnt equal .

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.