Introduction To Calculus

What is Calculus used for?

20th Oct '207 mins read

20 October  2020

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Introduction

If you have opened this blog and are interested to know what Calculus is used for, accept my heartiest congratulations! You must have understood algebra and trigonometry well enough to have ventured into this field to understand what is calculus used for? 

To begin with what is the meaning of the word –CALCULUS. It means small pebbles in Greek. People used small pebbles to count or measure; hence calculus.

Intro image

Source: giphy.com

We are surrounded by Calculus applications. Why? Because the only permanent thing in life is change and Calculus is used for measuring this change.

So, how does Calculus measure change, and what is calculus used for?


What is Calculus used for?

Calculus helps us understand changes between values that are related by a function. E.g: You are an entrepreneur and you wish to analyze how much money you earn every month. So, there is a formula by which you earn money. 

Application of Calculus in Business

The other factor that will be taken into consideration is time. Calculus is used to study the different impacts on the money earned ( formula/ function) in a given period of time.

Application of Calculus in Business Image

Calculus has two parts to it:  Differential calculus and Integral calculus.   While differential calculus divides things into small (different) pieces and tells us how they change from one moment to the next, integral calculus joins (integrates) the small pieces together, and tells us how much of something is made, overall, by a series of changes. 

Calculus is used in many different areas such as physics, astronomy, biology, engineering, economics, medicine, and sociology.

Let us take an example. 

You drive every day to work. You travel a distance of 15 Kms and keeping the speed limit in the city in mind, you can drive only at the speed of 60 km/hr. So, a simple calculation tells you that you would take 25 minutes. 

However, there are traffic congestions, diversions, traffic being held up due to VIP movement, accidents, etc. These changes are unavoidable and inevitable. Calculus helps you to calculate the time taken to reach your office with

all these changes. 

Eureka! This is exactly what your GPS or Google map does! 

Google map image

In the same way, have you ever tried decorating a hall with balloons? Well, you all must have experienced that how much ever you try, these balloons release or let out some amount of air in time. Calculus helps you to determine

how soon you need to fill the balloons to keep them suitably inflated for the party.

These are two examples of calculus applications 

I am sure by now you might have guessed why is calculus important or what is calculus used for?

So calculus is used most by Engineers, scientists, and economists and these people use the knowledge of calculus for a wide range of things - from your microwaves, cell phones, TV, and car to medicine, economy, and national defense.  In fact, because Calculus has the ability to model and control systems, it gives us extraordinary power over the material world.

Mother board image

You will be proud to know that Calculus was known to an Indian Mathematician, Madhava of Sangamagrama almost 250 years before Newton & Leibnitz claimed that it was their discovery. There is historical evidence to prove

that the Jesuits, who were active in that region of Kerala, carried this knowledge to Europe. 

While astronomy is what triggered the discovery of the infinite series for Madhava, Newton, and Leibnitz, once the immense possibilities of the application of Calculus were perceived, it has now become an integral part of our day to day life.


Calculus Applications

Why is calculus important?

  • Space is one area where we see Calculus applications. Space flight engineers use calculus to plan long missions.  Before launching anything into space, a lot of things need to be considered: Different orbiting velocities of the Earth and the other planets that need to be probed and the gravitational influences of the sun and the moon and other objects. 

Why is calculus important image

What is calculus used for in real life?

  • In these COVID times, we are concerned about the rapid spread of the pandemic. Epidemiology which studies the spread of infectious disease relies on calculus by determining how far and fast a disease is spreading. Biologists are working very hard to invent a vaccine and one of the tests of the vaccine is to understand the exact rate of growth in a bacterial culture when different variables such as temperature and food sources are changed. Calculus is used to predict this.
  • Don’t we all love animations? A graphics artist who creates these animations uses calculus to determine how different three-dimensional models will behave when subjected to rapidly changing conditions. It makes movies or video games look realistic.
  • Credit card companies depend on calculus to set the minimum payments due on credit card statements by considering multiple variables such as changing interest rates and a fluctuating available balance.

Debit card image

Application of Calculus in Engineering

  • In Physics, calculus application, i.e. integral calculus is used to calculate the Centre of Mass, Centre of Gravity, Mass Moment of Inertia of a sports utility vehicle, calculate the velocity and trajectory of an object, predict the position of planets, and understand electromagnetism.
  • A civil engineer (architect)  uses integration in determining the amount of the necessary materials to construct curved shape constructions (e.g. dome over a sports arena) and also to measure the weight of that structure. Calculus is used to improve the architecture not only of buildings but also of important infrastructures such as bridges, tunnels, etc.

Tunnel image 1

  • Calculus is used for determining the exact length of power cable needed to connect two substations, which are miles away from each other.

Application of Calculus in Business

  • We make plans and predictions based on Data. Statistics is another area where Calculus is used to evaluate survey data to help develop business plans. 
  • A research analyst observes different processes at a manufacturing unit. By studying the value of different variables, they can suggest ways to improve operating efficiency, increase production, and raise profits.

Summary

So, even if Calculus is considered tough, it impacts all our day to day activities. Practice and preparation will go a long way in helping you to make life more predictable and easy. 

What is Calculus used for?

It is easier to answer which areas don’t have calculus applications. It is everywhere all around us and we were able to discuss just a few calculus uses in this blog.

Infinitesimal change image

From next on notice these small calculus applications yourself and figure out what is calculus used for in real life.

Best of luck!

Written by Jayashree Nair


FAQs

What is calculus used for in real life?

  • In these COVID times, we are concerned about the rapid spread of the pandemic. Epidemiology which studies the spread of infectious disease relies on calculus by determining how far and fast a disease is spreading. Biologists are working very hard to invent a vaccine and one of the tests of the vaccine is to understand the exact rate of growth in a bacterial culture when different variables such as temperature and food sources are changed. Calculus is used to predict this.
  • Credit card companies depend on calculus to set the minimum payments due on credit card statements by considering multiple variables such as changing interest rates and a fluctuating available balance.

Application of Calculus in Engineering?

  • In Physics, calculus application, i.e. integral calculus is used to calculate the Centre of Mass, Centre of Gravity, Mass Moment of Inertia of a sports utility vehicle, calculate the velocity and trajectory of an object, predict the position of planets, and understand electromagnetism.
  • A civil engineer (architect)  uses integration in determining the amount of the necessary materials to construct curved shape constructions (e.g. dome over a sports arena) and also to measure the weight of that structure. Calculus is used to improve the architecture not only of buildings but also of important infrastructures such as bridges, tunnels, etc.
  • Calculus is used for determining the exact length of power cable needed to connect two substations, which are miles away from each other.

Application of Calculus in Business?

  • We make plans and predictions based on Data. Statistics is another area where Calculus is used to evaluate survey data to help develop business plans. 
  • A research analyst observes different processes at a manufacturing unit. By studying the value of different variables, they can suggest ways to improve operating efficiency, increase production, and raise profits.

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