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Chapter 5 Integration

We have spent considerable time considering the derivatives of a function and their applications. In the following chapters, we are going to starting thinking in “the other direction.” That is, given a function \(f(x)\text{,}\) we are going to consider functions \(F(x)\) such that \(F'(x) = f(x)\text{.}\) There are numerous reasons this will prove to be useful: these functions will help us compute area, volume, mass, force, pressure, work, and much more.

We started this chapter learning about antiderivatives and indefinite integrals. We then seemed to change focus by looking at areas between the graph of a function and the \(x\)-axis. We defined these areas as the definite integral of the function, using a notation very similar to the notation of the indefinite integral. The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus tied these two seemingly separate concepts together: we can find areas under a curve, i.e., we can evaluate a definite integral, using antiderivatives.

We ended the chapter by noting that antiderivatives are sometimes more than difficult to find: they are impossible. Therefore we developed numerical techniques that gave us good approximations of definite integrals.

We used the definite integral to compute areas, and also to compute displacements and distances traveled. There is far more we can do than that. In Chapter 7 we'll see more applications of the definite integral. Before that, in Chapter 6 we'll learn advanced techniques of integration, analogous to learning rules like the Product, Quotient and Chain Rules of differentiation.