 ## Introduction

Welcome! This is OSU's Differential Calculus course, Mth 251, as presented on the WEB.

The development of calculus is one of humankind's greatest intellectual achievements! This course is concerned with Differential Calculus, which, in a nutshell, deals with slopes of functions. Consider the linear function y(x)=x+1. As you well know, the slope of this function is 1 for all x. However, what is the slope of a function that is not a straight line, such as parabola like y(x)=x2. For this function the slope depends on position along the parabola. As you will learn if you take the course, the derivative (or slope) function for this parabola is y'(x)=2x -- y'(x) denotes the derivative of y(x). Give an x value, then y'(x)=2x gives the slope. In this course you will learn:

• the concept of the limit which is fundamental to calculus
• the mathematical definition of the derivative (or slope function)
• rules for computing derivatives of various functions
• applications of derivatives

We use "mountain climbing" as a metaphor. That is, we make an analogy between learning calculus and climbing mountains. They are both challenging, require the use of fundamental skills as well as "right brain" creativity, and offer great rewards to those who take the challenge.

Click on the links below to find out more about the course.

Last edited by Ricahard Schori on January 3, 2001.