As you probably know, geometry is the study of shapes and algebra is the study of relationships. So what is calculus all about?
Calculus is the mathematical study of change. In fact, it is all about infinitesimally small change.
Calculus has two major branches:
- Differential calculus (concerning rates of change and slopes of curves)
- Integral calculus (concerning accumulation of quantities and the areas under and between curves)
These two branches are related to each other by the fundamental theorem of calculus. Both branches make use of the fundamental notions of limits which is basically what separates algebra from calculus.
Today, calculus has widespread uses in science, engineering and economics and can help solve many problems that elementary algebra alone cannot.