Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On learning Calculus

I started this journey with a the following concern: would I be able to learn Calculus, or is it something beyond my reach?

I think I have answered that question this year. I am quite able to learn Calculus and I have actually learned some. My statement of intent was "to learn and master Calculus", which now sounds like a very bold statement. I believe I would have needed many more years to master a discipline as vast as Calculus. However, my new understanding of it fills me with satisfaction. I have indeed attained closure on a topic that was as personal as it was academic.

What do I take with me? Quite a lot actually, from the importance of starting with a good base, to the realization that I learn best with the structure of a course than on my own. I also take limits both as a mathematical concept as well as life concept. One helps you explore infinity, the other, I realized, is mainly in your mind. I take differentiation and integration, since at times is important to know the guiding essence of a thing and at others the power of togetherness.

I also learned a lot about change.

Change of rates as well as change of heart. Change as the definition of what we are and were we are going.

I am happy I did this project. It has been hard, it took a lot of time and effort. I made some hard sacrifices as time. But I made it.

I want to thank my wife María del Carmen for her love and support, and also my daughter Amanda for putting up with me calculating away some Saturday mornings. I could not have done it without you. You are, ahem, integral to me. I love you.

So here it is, the end of this blog, I guess. The last entry. Thank you Calculus, it has been a blast.


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