Notices
Results 1 to 28 of 28
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By serpicojr

Thread: Calculus, how helpful is it?

  1. #1 Calculus, how helpful is it? 
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,546
    Maths has always been my nemesis, but I am naturally easy to understand it. But at the moment my theories have hit a brick wall, which I knew the wall was coming (as I said it is my nemesis). I've used algebra but when it comes to re arange the forumla I get stupid and incorrect numbers. It screws up m theories. I managed using algebra to figure about the maximum velocity that a particle (given its own properties) can travel at, I was astonished at that. . However, my theory on time travel needs a little more backing. I added all the relevant calculations from my theories (constants rather (those greek letters )), but now it is so long winded and complicated, algebra does not cut the mustard.

    Just so you know what I'm doing, I have variables, intergers needed, numerous ways of accounting for fluctuations in certain values, heck I even need to learn about 4 vectors and tensors. But I am wondering, is calculus a good place to start. My time travel theory, theory, is complete. I even have a few early alegbraic equations that work to aid it, but I really need to know what will help me most, and if calculus is a good place to start.

    Thanks,

    SVWillmer.


    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    You can't do physics without calculus. So, yes, learn it.


    tech1 likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,546
    OK :-D. Where would I start?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    At the very beginning.

    The best thing, in my opinion, would be to take a course in calculus. However, methinks you won't jump for this option. So pick up a college calculus textbook and, if you'd like, a solutions manual. Then start going through it. But you'll have to go through it like Demen Tolden was--i.e., very slowly, carefully, and thoroughly, making sure at each step that you understand what's going on rather than letting yourself get bored or frustrated and speeding ahead. Patience is key. This is not something you're going to learn overnight. Of course, we here in the math forum would be more than happy to help you out with your studies.

    Now, let me reiterate, you can't do physics without calculus. Calculus deals with instantaneous rates of change, which is the lifeblood of physics. If you're serious about physics, you need to be serious about calculus. Since you're already familiar with physics, you should start to appreciate the value of calculus as soon as you learn the derivatives of polynomials--for example, you'll see why it's consistent why the position at time t of an object thrown up at velocity v<sub>0</sub> from height s<sub>0</sub> is:

    s(t) = s<sub>0</sub> + v<sub>0</sub> t + g t<sup>2</sup>/2
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,546
    Thank you. I'll look into where I can start, and see if I can find a good textbook.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree bit4bit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    621
    There's some online calculus courses too, like the one Demen was using, that are good. But it depends whether you want to read of a computer screen or not. Personally I prefer a book, of which there are plenty.
    Chance favours the prepared mind.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7 Re: Calculus, how helpful is it? 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,795
    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    I've used algebra but when it comes to re arange the forumla I get stupid and incorrect numbers. It screws up m theories.
    If you are having problems with the algebra, maybe you ought to start there before taking on calculus.
    Just so you know what I'm doing, I have variables, intergers needed, numerous ways of accounting for fluctuations in certain values, heck I even need to learn about 4 vectors and tensors. But I am wondering, is calculus a good place to start. My time travel theory, theory, is complete. I even have a few early alegbraic equations that work to aid it, but I really need to know what will help me most, and if calculus is a good place to start.

    Thanks,

    SVWillmer.
    I can't tell from this what you are trying to do, or if calculus will help you do it. Would you care to share any of your theories?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    You're right, Harold, that SVW should hone his algebra skills before jumping to calculus. So I suppose the real question, SVW, is: what math classes have you taken? In the long tun, though, I'd really like to encourage SVW to get calculus under his belt, whether he really needs it or not, because... well, really, he needs it to do theoretical physics.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,546
    I've done about 2/10ths of an A-level course, but had to leave it because of expenses. I don't know a great deal. All I'm doing with my theories (in maths terms), is putting together values that are direct with each other (i.e mass and the speed of light and mulitpying them), and then dividing by another number which affects the efficiency of the sum of the multiples. I don't want to post my ideas because, well one thing and another, sorry, I'm not ready for scientific criticism.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    I seem to remember going through this discussion with you before and not getting a straight answer. You've got to remember I'm in the states and have no idea what A-level means, much less what is covered in such a course. So it will only help you if you can be more explicit.

    It seems like you might be ashamed about your level of math education. Don't be--you know what you know, but you want to learn more, and that's what matters. And consider this: I feel like you know more physics than I do, and I'm getting my PhD in a year. I'm not ashamed about that, because physics isn't my deal. Math is not your thing, so it's not a surprise you don't have advanced math under your belt!

    So if you could let me know which of these topics you've covered, that'd be great.

    1. Algebra
    a. a "first year" course in the states: solving for variables, factoring quadratic equations, simultaneous equations
    b. a "second year" course in the states: ellipses, hyperbolas, parabolas; solving and graphing inequalities; maybe covering exponentials and logs

    2. Geometry: a proof-based Euclidean geometry course, working from Euclid's axioms (maybe called postulates in the course), learning theorems

    3. Trigonometry: sine, cosine, and the like; this was covered in my second year algebra in the states

    4. Some sort of "precalculus" course: Really, in the states, this is just a course which makes sure you have the basics down before you go to calculus: it makes sure you can manipulate equations, graph a lot of functions, etc. So I don't think you have this, judging from our discussion so far, and it's likely that, if we don't need to start earlier, we need to start here.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,546
    Your 1a Number is all the algebra I have done . I don't have a problem with those topics either, but the problem is I have REAL difficulty rearranging formulas.

    On a personal note, I've always liked maths. Its the only topic next to physics I don't find boring .
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    So the moral of the story is you need to learn a lot of math. You have difficulty rearranging equations because you haven't done much math which requires you to do so. And you're probably not at a point in your math education where you can sit down and teach yourself without significant input from someone else.

    If you were living in the states, I'd say take a course in basic algebra at a community college. I have no idea what sorts of similar things exist in the UK. One thing you can try: find a basic algebra text, online or in print, and start working through it. Come to this forum and ask us questions. We'll be more than happy to help.

    I have to warn you: it could be a serious time investment before you're really ready to do calculus.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Wherever I go, there I am
    Posts
    935
    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    One thing you can try: find a basic algebra text, online or in print, and start working through it.

    I have had some luck finding old algebra and calculus texts at thrift stores (where they sell used items like clothes, nick-nacks, and of course, books). I have found a few for as cheap as 50 cents (compare that to about $100 for new texts...).

    The library is also an option, but I personally like to own my books as I like to write in the margins and underline/circle things.


    Good luck 425,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    In the circuitous haze of my mind
    Posts
    1,028
    Really, the pre-calculus course I took a few years ago, and nearly failed, had nothing to do with the AP physics class I took later. I got an A in the physics class and a D- in the math class. Maybe it is just because the school district I reside in is that messed up?
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    Which AP physics did you take--B or C? And how did you do in calculus?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    In the circuitous haze of my mind
    Posts
    1,028
    It did not go by B or C. There was just Physics P and AP. Well, I never took calculus after nearly failing pre-calculus.

    In that physics class, and I am not exaggerating this, the teacher had me teach the class a few lessons on things she was unfamiliar with and decided the class must know. We did some pretty intense math, but it was very easy to me, BECAUSE IT WAS REAL AND MADE SENSE. The calculus I took was in a delusional reality formulated by some drug addict on a bad trip. Nothing made sense in that class. I would spend hours after school learning the content with the teacher, then come in the next day fully confident and fail the test. In fact, all of my friends failed him too. I tried to take it the next year with a different teacher, but guess what? The SOB's placed me with him again and told me that I could never switch teachers. So here I am not knowing a bit of calculus. Oh yeah, I ALSO HAD HIM FOR ALGEBRA 2, the prerequisite to pre-calculus. I got out with a C- in that class.

    My school district can go to hell along with all the teachers. You know how I stated I am going for a business major? I originally intended to be an engineer...and actually made it into a very prestigious engineering school; BUT MY NEAR F IN PRE-CALCULUS PREVENTED ME FROM GETTING IN. So now I plan on using logic and reasoning alone for a job. No building massive buildings that tower into the sky....no experiments with lasers and electricity, no explosive chemical mixing........because of him I am a mere enthusiast. Btw, I got A's in all maths until that point, including a 105% in trigonometry.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    My point is that your physics class didn't have calculus in it, and since you haven't had calculus, you don't understand why precalculus is useful for calculus and why calculus is useful in physics.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    2,256
    I would think calculus would be very useful for physicist and engineers. The last time I used calculus was in thermodynamics, it's occasionally useful to biologist when working on reaction rates and other enzyme kinetics. Actually last time I used it was to find the point when the rate of cell death was zero for a cytotoxicity assay.

    For an every day person calculus is useless, but for higher maths and physics it's very useful.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    If you'd like to learn calculus, we'd be more than happy to help. We were making good progress with Demen Tolden a couple of months ago. If you're willing to work like he did, we can help you can learn calculus.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    2,256
    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    If you'd like to learn calculus, we'd be more than happy to help. We were making good progress with Demen Tolden a couple of months ago. If you're willing to work like he did, we can help you can learn calculus.
    Was that directed at me?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    JRZ
    Posts
    1,069
    No, sorry. That was unclear. I was talking to Cold Fusion.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    2,256
    I figured as much but just wanted to make certain.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    In the circuitous haze of my mind
    Posts
    1,028
    Ok, thanks, I may take you guys up on that.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Guest
    Calculus is among the greatest discoveries of the last millenium and comprises the majority of college-level mathematics. Choosing not to learn it is a very unfortunate choice for anybody, regardless of the difficulties they may face. Some applications of differential calculus alone are solving maxima and minima problems, solving related rates problems, finding instantaneous rate of change, sketching curves, finding linear and quadratic approximations of curves, and modeling differential equations to solve problems in biology and economics. Some applications of integral calculus is finding work, the average value of a function, probability, determining arc length, surface area, volume, and finding area through polar coordinates and modeling parametric equations.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25 Calculus 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantime View Post
    OK :-D. Where would I start?
    Where do I start. It is more than helpful. I asked this question and without a problem you can never know where to start.get a problem crack down and then solve. Not easy at all! But face it. Let group members help you. Calculus is important.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion View Post
    Ok, thanks, I may take you guys up on that.
    meaning and when?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Fusion View Post
    It did not go by B or C. There was just Physics P and AP. Well, I never took calculus after nearly failing pre-calculus. In that physics class, and I am not exaggerating this, the teacher had me teach the class a few lessons on things she was unfamiliar with and decided the class must know. We did some pretty intense math, but it was very easy to me, BECAUSE IT WAS REAL AND MADE SENSE. The calculus I took was in a delusional reality formulated by some drug addict on a bad trip. Nothing made sense in that class. I would spend hours after school learning the content with the teacher, then come in the next day fully confident and fail the test. In fact, all of my friends failed him too. I tried to take it the next year with a different teacher, but guess what? The SOB's placed me with him again and told me that I could never switch teachers. So here I am not knowing a bit of calculus. Oh yeah, I ALSO HAD HIM FOR ALGEBRA 2, the prerequisite to pre-calculus. I got out with a C- in that class.My school district can go to hell along with all the teachers. You know how I stated I am going for a business major? I originally intended to be an engineer...and actually made it into a very prestigious engineering school; BUT MY NEAR F IN PRE-CALCULUS PREVENTED ME FROM GETTING IN. So now I plan on using logic and reasoning alone for a job. No building massive buildings that tower into the sky....no experiments with lasers and electricity, no explosive chemical mixing........because of him I am a mere enthusiast. Btw, I got A's in all maths until that point, including a 105% in trigonometry.
    I made an E. I also did poorly in regular maths.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    5,298
    Welcome to the forum, you do realise that you are replying to a 5 year old thread in which none of the posters have been active for a very long time, they are unlikely to read your responses and you are very unlikely to get a reply. Just a heads up that some of the mods don't like people resurrecting old threads like this, if you want to start a discussion it would be best to start a new thread and maybe link back to the old one if it is relevant to your point.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •