Spotlight on Science: Calculus

No, don’t give me that look. I’m serious when I say that your year 13 calc class was one of the most epic classes you ever took, and the fact that you didn’t recognize that (I know I made several sarcastic comments regarding the future utility of integration in my day-to-day life) is not your fault at all.

Calculus is important to modern life, and is found all around us. It is so fundamental to the development of modern physics that it was “invented” by two people at exactly the same time in Europe. Several people contributed to the development of something we now start to learn in our teens, some dedicating their lives to it.

The core principles of differential and integral calculus abound in physics and economics quite obviously, but they also show up in chemistry, medicine, and I know I used limits to define things in Microbiology at some point. We can make faces at the long S all we like, but integrals and calculus and mathematics are fundamental to most, if not all, science.

Science fields arranged by purity, mathematics as the most pure.
Randall Munroe, xkcd.com

It’s really hard to summarize such a fundamental concept in a wee blog post. Calculus allows us to determine accurate dosing in medicine, and the modeling of several different things that do, in fact, alter our day-to-day lives. It’s a critical stepping-stone that has allowed technology and science to flourish the way it has.

an integral to solve.

I am a massive calculus fan-girl; in my final year of high-school, my then boyfriend sent me some “birthday integration”. To date, it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. (Feel free to complete the integration) ( On the note of mathematical loveliness, I have also received inequalities that simplify to “i < 3u”. Nawwwwwwww.)

Sophia, who would probably date Calculus if it was a person.

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