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MATH 115 lecture notes for 19 January 2018 at the University of Kansas

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10 Lines

Recall that there are two basic forms for the equation of a line and that these forms are equiv-

alent. Let f (x) be a line with slope m ∈ R and y-intercept b ∈ R. We say that the slope-

intercept form of f (x) is given by f (x) = mx + b. Consider a point P = (x1 , y1 ) in R2 , i.e.,

such that x1 and y1 are all real numbers. We say that the point-slope form of f (x) is given by

y − y1 = m(x − x1 ), where we have interchanged f (x) and y since we have that y = f (x).

(a.) Give the slope-intercept form of the line f (x) with slope m = 5 and y-intercept −1.

(b.) Give the slope-intercept form of the line f (x) that passes through (1, 0) and (3, 4).

(c.) Give the point-slope form of the line with slope m = −2 that passes through (−1, −3).

(d.) Give the point-slope form of the line that passes through (2, 4) and (5, 5).

2.1 Functions and Their Graphs

2.1.1 Functions

Deﬁnition. We say that a function f : A → B is a rule that assigns to each element in a set A

one and only one element of a set B.

We call the set A the domain of the function. We say that the range of the function is the set

of all values f (x) such that x ∈ A. Observe that the range of a function is a subset of B. We note

the importance of the phrase “one and only one” in the deﬁnition of a function.

• Consider working in a grocery store and being responsible for pricing items. Each item

should possess one and only one price. Otherwise, when the cashier rings up the item, she

will not know which price to use. Likewise, a function should assign to each element x in A

one and only one value f (x) in B. We say that a function must be “well-deﬁned.”

• Recall that the equation y 2 + x2 = 1 describes

√ a circle of radius 1 that is centered about the

origin; however, solving for y give y = ± 1 − x2 . Observe that every value except x = ±1

gives two possible outputs under y = f (x), hence y 2 + x2 = 1 is not a function in y.

We will represent a function f of only one variable x as f (x), hence to evaluate the function at a

particular value C in its domain, we will write ﬁnd the value of f (C).

Evaluating Functions. Let f (x) = x2 + 3. Evaluate f (1), f (a), and f (a + h).

Packaging. Consider constructing an open box from a rectangular piece of cardboard 16 inches

long and 10 inches wide by cutting away identical squares from each corner and folding up the

resulting ﬂaps. Find an expression that gives the volume V of the box as a function of x, i.e., ﬁnd

the function V (x). What is the domain of the function V (x)?

Solution. Let �(x), w(x), and h(x) represent the respective length, width, and height of the box.

Observe that we have V (x) = �(x) · w(x) · h(x) = (16 − 2x)(10 − 2x)x. Each of the �(x), w(x),

and h(x) must be positive, hence we must simultaneously satisfy the inequalities 0 < x < 8,

0 < x < 5, and x > 0. Combining these, we ﬁnd that DV = {x : 0 < x < 5} = (0, 5). �

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Unless otherwise stated, the domain of a function is the set of all real numbers which correspond

to a real output. In particular, we must omit from the domain of a function any values such that

• division by 0 occurs, or

Domain Restrictions. Find the domain of each function of the following functions.

√

(a.) f (x) = x − 1

1

(b.) g(x) =

x2 − 4

(c.) h(x) = x2 + 3

2.1.2 Graphs

Deﬁnition. We deﬁne the graph of a function f to be the set of all points (x, y) in R2 such that

x is in the domain of f and y = f (x) is in the range of f.

We may evaluate a function by simply looking at its graph.

Evaluating Functions Graphically. Draw a generic function; label a point a in the domain;

and ﬁnd the corresponding point b = f (a).

�

x if x ≥ 0

f (x) = |x| = .

−x if x < 0

Vertical Line Test. A curve y = f (x) in R2 is a function if and only if each vertical line x = a

intersects y = f (x) in at most one point.

Using the Vertical Line Test. Draw a few graphs, and show that some are functions and

some are not by applying the vertical line test.

2.2.1 The Sum, Diﬀerence, Product, and Quotient of Functions

Government Budget Surplus. Consider two functions: the revenue function R(t) and the ex-

penditure function E(t). Draw some curves, and then, draw their (approximate) diﬀerence. Ob-

serve that the function S(t) = (R − E)(t) = R(t) − E(t) gives the surplus.

Deﬁnition. Let f and g be functions with respective domains Df and Dg . We have the following

functions with domain Df ∩ Dg = {x : x ∈ Df and x ∈ Dg }.

(f − g)(x) = f (x) − g(x) (The diﬀerence of functions is a function.)

(f · g)(x) = f (x) · g(x) (The product of functions is a function.)

12

Furthermore, the quotient of the functions f and g is a function with domain Df ∩ Dg∗ , where

Dg∗ = {x ∈ Dg : g(x) �= 0}.

� �

f f (x)

(x) = (The quotient of functions is a function.)

g g(x)

We note that the symbol ∩ is referred to as the “set intersection” symbol. Put in layman’s terms,

the set intersection A ∩ B denotes everything that is in both of the sets A and B.

√

Creating New Functions from Old. Let f (x) = x + 1 and g(x) = 2x + 1. Find the sum,

diﬀerence, product, and quotient of these functions, and state each new function’s domain.

Other than the above operations, there is one other important operation for combining two old

functions into one new function. Consider ﬁrst placing a value x into one function and taking

that output as the input of another function. We refer to this as composition of functions.

Deﬁnition. Let f and g be functions. We deﬁne the composition of f and g to be the function

(g ◦ f )(x) = g(f (x)), read “g of f of x.” Observe that the domain of g ◦ f is the set of all x in the

domain of f such that f (x) lies in the domain of g, i.e., Dg ◦f = {x : x ∈ Df and f (x) ∈ Dg }.

√

Composing Functions. Let f (x) = x + 1 and g(x) = x2 − 3. Find the composition of functions

f ◦ g and g ◦ f, and state the domain of each of the new functions.

2.3.1 Polynomial Functions

Our main thrust in this course is to demonstrate how mathematics — particularly calculus — can

be applied to solve real-world problems. Before we are able to use mathematics to solve a real-

life example, however, we must ﬁrst develop a mathematical model. Often, a mathematical model

can be constructed from “nice” functions known as polynomials.

Deﬁnition. We say that a function f (x) is a polynomial of degree n if we can write

where n is a non-negative whole number, the a0 , a1 , a2 , . . . , an−1 , an are real numbers called coeﬃ-

cients, and the leading coeﬃcient an �= 0.

We have tacitly dealt with polynomials already. For instance, on this page alone, we have seen

2

polynomials f (x) = 2x + 1 and g(x) = x√ + 3. Even some of the craziest functions that we can

1 3

imagine — say h(x) = 2x − 3x + 2 x + 2x2 − π — are polynomials. Lower-degree polynomials

5 4

• Polynomials of degree n = 0 and n = 1 are called linear functions (or lines), e.g., f (x) =

mx + b. If m = 0, then f (x) = b is the horizontal line at b.

• Polynomials of degree n = 2 are called quadratic functions (or parabolas), e.g., f (x) =

ax2 + bx + c, a �= 0. Recall that the parabola opens upward if a > 0 and downward if a < 0.

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