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Purpose of Integrals

Date: 4/13/96 at 17:14:38
From: Anonymous
Subject: What are Integrals Used For?

I am studying calculus, but the book I am using does not say what 
integrals are used for, or what their purpose is.  I think it has 
something to do with physics.

Date: 6/6/96 at 14:36:26
From: Doctor Leigh
Subject: Re: What are Integrals Used For?

In the pure math world integrals are used to find the area under a  
curve on a graph.  In physics many of the formulas that are used 
are derived from other formulas using integrals.  In many of the 
formulas dealing with electric fields and forces integrals are 
used to make a complex formula more simple in specific cases.  For 
example if you have a charged particle inside of a sphere the 
maginitude of the electric field outside of the sphere is normally 
a very complex formula.  Another formula must be calculated for 
use inside of the sphere.  But it just so happens that the formula 
for the inside of the sphere is the integral of the formula for 
outside the sphere.  

Thank you for your question.

-Doctor Leigh Ann,  The Math Forum

Associated Topics:
High School Physics/Chemistry

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