Applications of Calculus
With calculus, we have the ability to find the effects of changing conditions on
a system. By studying these, you can learn how to control a system to make it do
what you want it to do. Because of the ability to model and control systems, calculus
gives us extraordinary power over the material world.
Calculus is the language of engineers, scientists, and economists. The work of these
professionals has a huge impact on our daily life – from your microwaves, cell phones,
TV, and car to medicine, economy, and national defense.
Credit card companies use calculus to set the minimum payments due on credit
card statements at the exact time the statement is processed by considering multiple
variables such as changing interest rates and a fluctuating available balance.
Biologists use differential calculus to determine the exact rate of growth
in a bacterial culture when different variables such as temperature and food source
are changed. This research can help increase the rate of growth of necessary bacteria,
or decrease the rate of growth for harmful and potentially threatening bacteria.
An electrical engineer uses integration to determine the exact length of
power cable needed to connect two substations that are miles apart. Because the
cable is hung from poles, it is constantly curving. Calculus allows a precise figure
to be determined.
An architect will use integration to determine the amount of materials necessary
to construct a curved dome over a new sports arena, as well as calculate the weight
of that dome and determine the type of support structure required.
Space flight engineers frequently use calculus when planning lengthy missions.
To launch an exploratory probe, they must consider the different orbiting velocities
of the Earth and the planet the probe is targeted for, as well as other gravitational
influences like the sun and the moon. Calculus allows each of those variables to
be accurately taken into account.
Statisticians will use calculus to evaluate survey data to help develop business
plans for different companies. Because a survey involves many different questions
with a range of possible answers, calculus allows a more accurate prediction for
A physicist uses calculus to find the center of mass of a sports utility
vehicle to design appropriate safety features that must adhere to federal specifications
on different road surfaces and at different speeds.
An operations research analyst will use calculus when observing different
processes at a manufacturing corporation. By considering the value of different
variables, they can help a company improve operating efficiency, increase production,
and raise profits.
A graphics artist uses calculus to determine how different three-dimensional models
will behave when subjected to rapidly changing conditions. This can create a realistic
environment for movies or video games.
Obviously, a wide variety of careers regularly use calculus. Universities, the military,
government agencies, airlines, entertainment studios, software companies, and construction
companies are only a few employers who seek individuals with a solid knowledge of
calculus. Even doctors and lawyers use calculus to help build the discipline necessary
for solving complex problems, such as diagnosing patients or planning a prosecution
case. Despite its mystique as a more complex branch of mathematics, calculus touches
our lives each day, in ways too numerous to calculate.