Domain and Natural Domain: What's the Difference?Date: 01/13/2010 at 19:14:12 From: Ayah Subject: Domain and natural domain. From what I understand, the natural domain of a function is the largest set (in the sense of containment) over which the function is defined. The mathematical domain may be restricted to a subset of the natural domain. Does that mean that the domain can be restricted but the natural domain cannot? This is what I find confusing! Or are the terms interchangeable? I don't understand the difference. Date: 01/14/2010 at 10:16:22 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Domain and natural domain. Hi, Ayah. Every function has a domain, the set of (input) values over which it is defined. If I don't state what the domain is, by convention we take the domain to be all (real) numbers for which the expression defining the function can be evaluated. We call this the "natural domain" of the function. Let's look at an example. Take the function f(x) = 1/(1 - x). This function can be evaluated for all x except x = 1, because replacing x with 1 means dividing by zero -- an undefined operation. Therefore, 1/(1 - x) is not defined for x = 1: {x | x != 1} (the pair of symbols != means "is not equal to") If I wanted to, I could state a domain explicitly, for instance g(x) = 1/(1 - x), for x < 1 In this case, the domain is {x | x < 1} Why? Because I said so! It isn't "natural"; I had to declare something to make it so. By stating the domain explicitly, I am saying that this function g(x) has no value for any inputs greater than or equal to 1, even though I would have no trouble evaluating 1/(1 - x) for, say, x = 2. I have restricted the domain. In summary, the natural domain of a function (or rather, of the expression used to define the function) is one particular domain -- the one we assume when no domain is stated explicitly. When we do state the domain explicitly, it must be a subset of the natural domain. In my example, I can't say h(x) = 1/(1 - x) for all real numbers, because it has no value for x = 1. - Doctor Rick, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Date: 01/14/2010 at 10:46:36 From: Ayah Subject: Thank you (Domain and natural domain. ) Thank you very much. I really appreciate your response. You really helped me understand it better. My textbook wasn't very clear, but your examples are excellent!! Thank you very much! |
Search the Dr. Math Library: |
[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Ask Dr. Math^{TM}
© 1994-2015 The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/