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Topic review (newest first)

2012-04-26 05:10:33

Hi Bob

Since the diagram has only clarification purposes,I don't think it affects the rigorousness of the proof.

bob bundy
2012-04-26 04:08:58

Shouldn't it be less than or equal to in the inequalities?

Yes it should.  And the diagram only works when f is increasing ..... so it's not a fully rigorous proof.

amberzak:  I'm really pleased you followed it.  smile


2012-04-26 03:18:11

Thanks Bob. That was very interesting (and I actually understood what you were saying).

2012-04-26 02:43:14

Shouldn't it be less than or equal to in the inequalities?

bob bundy
2012-04-25 22:02:07

hi amberzak and Stefy,

I think what amberzak is after is the explanation of why the reverse of differentiation is also the area under a curve.  Anyway, I hope so, because that's what you are going to get.

  Many calculus courses introduce integration as the reverse of differentiation.  Now, of course, that's going to be how you do your integration in practice.  You'll start by learning some rules for differentiation and then learn how to 'work backwards' when you are asked to integrate.  ie.  What function would differentiate to give me this?

However, for the best understanding of calculus, I think that definition is unhelpful. 

I think it is best to think of integration as a summation process.  That's reallly what that integral sign means; it's a corrupted S for Sum.

And you can use integration to sum lots of things such as volumes, fuel used as a space rocket launches, moment about an axis leading to centres of gravity and so on.

But, at some stage, you need to know how to actually integrate something, and that's when it helps to know you can just reverse differentiation.

When I was at school my teacher told us that the proof that reverse of D and area under are the same, was too difficult for us.  It wasn't.  About 10 years later it was introduced to the A level course I was teaching at the time, so I had to find out.  Here's what I learnt.


see the two graphs below.

f(x) is any differentiable function.

F(x) is made from f(x) as follows.

Calculate the area bounded by the y axis, the x axis, the curve f(x) and the vertical line through any point on the x axis.

This area will be the value of F(x) so you can construct the graph by plotting all points (x, F ) and joining them up.


So F is made by just summing the areas of all the infinitely thin rectangles with height f(x) and width dx.

Now, on the f(x) graph I have shaded an area in yellowy orange to indicate the area under f up to a vertical line x.

Then I have added a thin strip in red , width h (delta x) , for the next little bit of area to be added.

I've used h on the diagram because getting a delta x is a bit tricky on this diagram.

So how big is this extra area?  Well it is smaller than a rectangle width h and height f(x+h).

And it is bigger than a rectangle width h and height f(x)




so let delta x tend to zero

so the differential gets sandwiched between two values that approach each other and in the limit

So differentiation is the reverse of integration.


2012-04-25 19:46:04

Hi Bob

Look at his picture on page 1.He integrates the function from -1 to 3,which gives him the area needed plus the green rectangle.The two small areas on the sides of the triangle are not included in the integration.

2012-04-25 19:00:58

I'm going to ask why Bob. Because I always want to know why. big_smile

2012-04-25 17:24:47

Oh,yes.I forgot that! Ok,thanks for the clarification,K5.

bob bundy
2012-04-25 17:13:25

I saw it. I still do not get why the two small parts next to the rectangle don't mess it up.

You are not integrating between the two crossing points on the x axis.  Integration theory works out areas between two ordinates.  Drive those little areas from your mind completely.

you will get the area below the curve down to the x axis.  That's what area type integration does. 
(Why is a much longer post for another day I think!)

If you ask,  I'll go through the 'why' for you.


2012-04-25 09:22:48

Anon, I was wondering that as well, actually. I might ask my teacher than tomorrow.

2012-04-25 09:21:46

Thanks guys. That's really helpful.

I'll be coming on tomorrow with your questions big_smile

2012-04-25 09:19:46

I saw it. I still do not get why the two small parts next to the rectangle don't mess it up.

bob bundy
2012-04-25 09:18:00

Ahead of you for the first time.  see post 20

Thanks for your help Stefy.  I'm off to bed.  Bye.  wave


2012-04-25 09:14:27

No,he didn't integrate the term 2x correctly.

bob bundy
2012-04-25 09:14:18

You integration is not correct!!!

I see it now.  I've spent all day driving and gardening (big tree to cut down) so my brain is not at its best.  Here is a correction to post #12.


= 18 and 2/3

less 8 = 10 and 2/3

My apologies for the error before.  I need some sleep.  sleep


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