# calculus

 Asking good questions is an important part of doing maths. But what makes a good question? What's the integral of xk? If you're up to speed with your calculus, you can probably rattle the answer off by heart. But can you prove it? Chris Sangwin introduces an ingenious method for deriving the integral from first principles. Coming to think of it, is the standard formula for the integral of xk really the best one? Chris Sangwin makes an interesting case that it is not. Getting the most from the air Phil Wilson continues our series on the life and work of Leonhard Euler, who would have turned 300 this year. This article looks at the calculus of variations and a mysterious law of nature that has caused some scientists to reach out for god. Plus 1000 — Mathematical lives In the last issue Lewis Dartnell explained how chaos on the brain is not only unavoidable but also beneficial. Now he tells us why the same is true for our solar system and sends us on a journey that has been travelled by comets and spacecraft. Calculus is a collection of tools, such as differentiation and integration, for solving problems in mathematics which involve "rates of change" and "areas". In the second of two articles aimed specially at students meeting calculus for the first time, Chris Sangwin tells us how to move on from first principles to differentiation as we know and love it! Calculus is a collection of tools, such as differentiation and integration, for solving problems in mathematics which involve "rates of change" and "areas". In the first of two articles aimed specially at students meeting calculus for the first time, Chris Sangwin tells us about these tools - without doubt, the some of the most important in all of mathematics. For millennia, puzzles and paradoxes have forced mathematicians to continually rethink their ideas of what proofs actually are. Jon Walthoe explains the tricks involved and how great thinkers like Pythagoras, Newton and Gödel tackled the problems.