How did Newton describe the orbits of the planets? To do this, he created calculus. But he used a different coordinate system more appropriate for planetary motion. We will learn to shift our perspective to do calculus with parameterized curves and polar coordinates. And then we will dive deep into exploring the infinite to gain a deeper understanding and powerful descriptions of functions.
How does a computer make accurate computations? Absolute precision does not exist in the real world, and computers cannot handle infinitesimals or infinity. Fortunately, just as we approximate numbers using the decimal system, we can approximate functions using series of much simpler functions. These approximations provide a powerful framework for scientific computing and still give highly accurate results. They allow us to solve all sorts of engineering problems based on models of our world represented in the language of calculus.
The three modules in this series are being offered as an XSeries on edX. Please visit Single Variable Calculus XSeries Program Page to learn more and to enroll in the modules.
This course, in combination with Parts 1 and 2, covers the AP* Calculus BC curriculum.
This course was funded in part by the Wertheimer Fund.
*Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, these offerings.
- To compute arc length
- Methods for parameterizing curves
- To do calculus in polar coordinates
- How to approximate functions with Taylor polynomials
- To determine convergence properties of infinite series
David Jerison received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1980, and joined the mathematics faculty at MIT in 1981. In 1985, he received an A.P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and a Presidential Young Investigator Award. In 1999 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004, he was selected for a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellowship in recognition of his teaching. In 2012, the American Mathematical Society awarded him and his collaborator Jack Lee the Bergman Prize in Complex Analysis.
Professor Jerison's research focuses on PDEs and Fourier Analysis. He has taught single variable calculus, multivariable calculus, and differential equations at MIT several times each.