An Introduction to Calculus of Variations

What is Calculus of Variations? In general, developments in mathematics are motivated by the need for them in applications. Calculus of variations is no exception. In fact, it was first developed in 1969 when Johann Bernoulli asked the greatest mathematical minds of his time to solve the famous ‘brachistochrone problem’. This problem involves a bead […]

Calculus Proof of Centripetal Acceleration Magnitude

In basic circular motion in physics we are given the following equation for the centripetal acceleration on a body moving in circular motion: However how can this be proved? Well, acceleration is a vector- so what we need to know is it’s magnitude and direction. The second part of which is obvious, it’s in the […]

Proving the Volume of a Sphere (Cylindrical Co-ordinates feat. triple integrals)

We are always taught that the volume of a sphere is 4/3πr^3 at school. But how can this be proved? One of the ways is to use cylindrical co-ordinates and integrate over suitable ranges in each of this co-ordinate system’s dimensions. But before we can do this, what are cylindrical co-ordinates? Cylindrical co-ordinates is similar […]

The Exponential Function – Why so useful?

An exponential function is a function where the input variable (usually written as x) is an exponent. Functions with constants in the exponent are also considered exponential functions. Then what is so amazing about these exponential functions? It all comes down to the rate of change of such a function (also known as the derivative […]