Finding the Limit

[Rescued from my old blog.]

Eldest dd had her first calculus lesson last night: derivatives. The teacher found the speed of a car at a given point by using the distance function, calculating the average speed over shorter and shorter time intervals. Dd summarized the lesson for me:

“If you want to divide by zero, you have to sneak up on it from behind.”

Of course, she understands you can’t really divide by zero, but I thought her tongue-in-cheek comment was a pretty good description of the process of finding the limit as delta-t approached zero.

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