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These 36 episodes cover all the major topics of a full-year calculus course in high school at the College Board Advanced Placement AB level or a first-semester course in college. Award-winning Professor Bruce H. Edwards guides you through hundreds of examples and problems, each of which is designed to explain and reinforce the major concepts of this vital mathematical field.

Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (31 episodes). The series first aired on March 5, 2010.

Where do I stream Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips online? Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips is available for streaming on The Great Courses Signature Collection, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon online.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 31 Episodes
March 5, 2010
Documentary & Biography
Cast: Bruce H. Edwards
Watch Episodes

Understanding Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips Full Episode Guide

  • Use your calculus skills in three applications of differential equations: First, calculate the radioactive decay of a quantity of plutonium; second, determine the initial population of a colony of fruit flies; and third, solve one of Professor Edwards's favorite problems by using Newton's law of cooling to predict the cooling time for a cup of coffee.

  • Explore slope fields as a method for getting a picture of possible solutions to a differential equation without having to solve it, examining several problems of the type that appear on the Advanced Placement exam. Also look at a solution technique for differential equations called separation of variables.

  • Closing your study of integration techniques, explore a powerful method for finding antiderivatives: integration by parts, which is based on the product rule for derivatives. Use this technique to calculate area and volume. Then focus on integrals involving products of trigonometric functions.

  • Investigate two applications of calculus that are at the heart of engineering: measuring arc length and surface area. One of your problems is to determine the length of a cable hung between two towers, a shape known as a catenary. Then examine a peculiar paradox of Gabriel's Horn.

  • Learn how to calculate the volume of a solid of revolution - an object that is symmetrical around its axis of rotation. As in the area problem in the previous episode, imagine adding up an infinite number of slices - in this case, of disks rather than rectangles - which yields a definite integral.

  • Revisit the area problem and discover how to find the area of a region bounded by two curves. First imagine that the region is divided into representative rectangles. Then add up an infinite number of these rectangles, which corresponds to a definite integral.

  • Turn to the last set of functions you will need in your study of calculus, inverse trigonometric functions. Practice using some of the formulas for differentiating these functions. Then do an entertaining problem involving how fast the rotating light on a police car sweeps across a wall and whether you can evade it.

  • Extend the use of the logarithmic and exponential functions to bases other than e, exploiting this approach to solve a problem in radioactive decay. Also learn to find the derivatives of such functions, and see how e emerges in other mathematical contexts, including the formula for continuous compound interest.

  • The inverse of the natural logarithmic function is the exponential function, perhaps the most important function in all of calculus. Discover that this function has an amazing property: It is its own derivative! Also see the connection between the exponential function and the bell-shaped curve in probability.

  • Continue your investigation of logarithms by looking at some of the consequences of the integral formula developed in the previous episode. Next, change gears and review inverse functions at the precalculus level, preparing the way for a deeper exploration of the subject in coming episodes.

  • When calculating a definite integral, the first step of finding the antiderivative can be difficult or even impossible. Learn the trapezoid rule, one of several techniques that yield a close approximation to the definite integral. Then do a problem involving a plot of land bounded by a river.

  • Investigate a straightforward technique for finding antiderivatives, called integration by substitution. Based on the chain rule, it enables you to convert a difficult problem into one that's easier to solve by using the variable u to represent a more complicated expression.

  • Try examples using the second fundamental theorem of calculus, which allows you to let the upper limit of integration be a variable. In the process, explore more relationships between differentiation and integration, and discover how they are almost inverses of each other.

  • Attack real-life problems in optimization, which requires finding the relative extrema of different functions by differentiation. Calculate the optimum size for a box, and the largest area that can be enclosed by a circle and a square made from a given length of wire.

  • By using calculus, you can be certain that you have discovered all the properties of the graph of a function. After learning how this is done, focus on the tangent line to a graph, which is a convenient approximation for values of the function that lie close to the point of tangency.

  • What does the second derivative reveal about a graph? It describes how the curve bends, whether it is concave upward or downward. Determine concavity much as you found the intervals where a graph was increasing or decreasing, except this time you'll use the second derivative.

  • Use the first derivative to determine where graphs are increasing or decreasing. Next, investigate Rolle's theorem and the mean value theorem, one of whose consequences is that during a car trip, your actual speed must correspond to your average speed during at least one point of your journey.

  • Having covered the rules for finding derivatives, embark on the first of five episodes dealing with applications of these techniques. Derivatives can be used to find the absolute maximum and minimum values of functions, known as extrema, a vital tool for analyzing many real-life situations.

  • Conquer the final strategy for finding derivatives: implicit differentiation, used when it's difficult to solve a function for y. Apply this rule to problems in related rates (for example, the rate at which a camera must move to track the space shuttle at a specified time after launch).

  • Discover one of the most useful of the differentiation rules, the chain rule, which allows you to find the derivative of a composite of two functions. Explore different examples of this technique, including a problem from physics that involves the motion of a pendulum.

  • Practice several techniques that make finding derivatives relatively easy: the power rule, the constant multiple rule, sum and difference rules, plus a shortcut to use when sine and cosine functions are involved. Then see how derivatives are the key to determining the rate of change in problems involving objects in motion.

  • Infinite limits describe the behavior of functions that increase or decrease without bound, in which the asymptote is the specific value that the function approaches without ever reaching it. Learn how to analyze these functions, and try some examples from relativity theory and biology.

  • Broadly speaking, a function is continuous if there is no interruption in the curve when its graph is drawn. Explore the three conditions that must be met for continuity, along with applications of associated ideas, such as the greatest integer function and the intermediate value theorem.

  • Continue your review of precalculus by looking at different types of functions and how they can be identified by their distinctive shapes when graphed. Then review trigonometric functions, using both the right triangle definition as well as the unit circle definition, which measures angles in radians rather than degrees.

  • In the first of two review episodes on precalculus, examine graphs of equations and properties such as symmetry and intercepts. Also explore the use of equations to model real life and begin your study of functions, which Professor Edwards calls the most important concept in mathematics.

  • Calculus is the mathematics of change, a field with many important applications in science, engineering, medicine, business, and other disciplines. Begin by surveying the goals of the series. Then get your feet wet by investigating the classic tangent line problem, which illustrates the concept of limits. #Science & Mathematics