*Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics*. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.

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## 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 had not been invented. However, automobiles are an example of how calculus may be used to describe motion. When the driver pushes on the accelerator of a car, the speed of that car increases. The rate at which the car is moving, or the...

This section contains 1,831 words(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page) |