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As students first begin to study calculus in high school or college, many may be unsure about what calculus is. What are the fundamental concepts that underlie calculus? Who has been credited for the discovery of calculus and how is calculus used today?

## What Is Calculus?

Calculus was invented as a tool for solving problems. Prior to the development of calculus, there were a variety of different problems that could not be addressed using the mathematics that was available. For example, scientists did not know how to measure the speed of an object when that speed was changing over time. Also, a more effective method was desired for finding the area of a region that did not have straight edges. **Geometry**, **algebra**, and **trigonometry**, which were well understood, did not provide the necessary tools to adequately address these problems.

At the time in which calculus was developed, automobiles...

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