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Linear Approximation
In mathematics, a linear approximation is an approximation of a general function using a linear function (more precisely, an affine function). They are widely used in the method of finite differences to produce first order methods for solving or approximating solutions to equations. Definition Given a twice continuously differentiable function f of one real variable, Taylor's theorem for the case n = 1 states that f(x) = f(a) + f'(a)(x - a) + R_2 where R_2 is the remainder term. The linear approximation is obtained by dropping the remainder: f(x) \approx f(a) + f'(a)(x - a). This is a good approximation when x is close enough to since a curve, when closely observed, will begin to resemble a straight line. Therefore, the expression on the right-hand side is just the equation for the tangent line to the graph of f at (a,f(a)). For this reason, this process is also called the tangent line approximation. If f is concave down in the interval between x and a, the approximatio ...
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Optical Axis
An optical axis is a line along which there is some degree of rotational symmetry in an optical system such as a camera lens, microscope or telescopic sight. The optical axis is an imaginary line that defines the path along which light propagates through the system, up to first approximation. For a system composed of simple lenses and mirrors, the axis passes through the center of curvature of each surface, and coincides with the axis of rotational symmetry. The optical axis is often coincident with the system's mechanical axis, but not always, as in the case of off-axis optical systems. For an optical fiber, the optical axis is along the center of the fiber core, and is also known as the ''fiber axis''. See also * Ray (optics) * Cardinal point (optics) * Antenna boresight References * * {{DODDIC Geometrical optics ...
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Finite Differences
A finite difference is a mathematical expression of the form . If a finite difference is divided by , one gets a difference quotient. The approximation of derivatives by finite differences plays a central role in finite difference methods for the numerical solution of differential equations, especially boundary value problems. The difference operator, commonly denoted \Delta is the operator that maps a function to the function \Delta /math> defined by :\Delta x)= f(x+1)-f(x). A difference equation is a functional equation that involves the finite difference operator in the same way as a differential equation involves derivatives. There are many similarities between difference equations and differential equations, specially in the solving methods. Certain recurrence relations can be written as difference equations by replacing iteration notation with finite differences. In numerical analysis, finite differences are widely used for approximating derivatives, and the term "fini ...
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Euler's Method
In mathematics and computational science, the Euler method (also called forward Euler method) is a first-order numerical procedure for solving ordinary differential equations (ODEs) with a given initial value. It is the most basic explicit method for numerical integration of ordinary differential equations and is the simplest Runge–Kutta method. The Euler method is named after Leonhard Euler, who treated it in his book '' Institutionum calculi integralis'' (published 1768–1870). The Euler method is a first-order method, which means that the local error (error per step) is proportional to the square of the step size, and the global error (error at a given time) is proportional to the step size. The Euler method often serves as the basis to construct more complex methods, e.g., predictor–corrector method. Informal geometrical description Consider the problem of calculating the shape of an unknown curve which starts at a given point and satisfies a given differential e ...
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Binomial Approximation
The binomial approximation is useful for approximately calculating powers of sums of 1 and a small number ''x''. It states that : (1 + x)^\alpha \approx 1 + \alpha x. It is valid when , x, -1 and \alpha \geq 1. Derivations Using linear approximation The function : f(x) = (1 + x)^ is a smooth function for ''x'' near 0. Thus, standard linear approximation tools from calculus apply: one has : f'(x) = \alpha (1 + x)^ and so : f'(0) = \alpha. Thus : f(x) \approx f(0) + f'(0)(x - 0) = 1 + \alpha x. By Taylor's theorem, the error in this approximation is equal to \frac \cdot (1 + \zeta)^ for some value of \zeta that lies between 0 and . For example, if x < 0 and \alpha \geq 2, the error is at most \frac. In little o notation, one can say that the error is o(, x, ), meaning that \lim_ \frac = ...
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Isochronism
A sequence of events is isochronous if the events occur regularly, or at equal time intervals. The term ''isochronous'' is used in several technical contexts, but usually refers to the primary subject maintaining a constant period or interval (the reciprocal of frequency), despite variations in other measurable factors in the same system. Isochronous timing is a characteristic of a repeating event whereas synchronous timing refers to the relationship between two or more events. *In dynamical systems theory, an oscillator is called ''isochronous'' if its frequency is independent of its amplitude. *In horology, a mechanical clock or watch is ''isochronous'' if it runs at the same rate regardless of changes in its drive force, so that it keeps correct time as its mainspring unwinds or chain length varies. Isochrony is important in timekeeping devices. Simply put, if a power providing device (ie a spring or weight) provides constant torque to the wheel train, it is isochronous (sinc ...
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Frequency
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. It is also occasionally referred to as ''temporal frequency'' for clarity, and is distinct from ''angular frequency''. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz) which is equal to one event per second. The period is the interval of time between events, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency. For example, if a heart beats at a frequency of 120 times a minute (2 hertz), the period, —the interval at which the beats repeat—is half a second (60 seconds divided by 120 beats). Frequency is an important parameter used in science and engineering to specify the rate of oscillatory and vibratory phenomena, such as mechanical vibrations, audio signals (sound), radio waves, and light. Definitions and units For cyclical phenomena such as oscillations, waves, or for examples of simple harmonic motion, the term ''frequency'' is defined as the number of cycles or vibrations per unit of time. T ...
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Infinite Series
In mathematics, a series is, roughly speaking, a description of the operation of adding infinitely many quantities, one after the other, to a given starting quantity. The study of series is a major part of calculus and its generalization, mathematical analysis. Series are used in most areas of mathematics, even for studying finite structures (such as in combinatorics) through generating functions. In addition to their ubiquity in mathematics, infinite series are also widely used in other quantitative disciplines such as physics, computer science, statistics and finance. For a long time, the idea that such a potentially infinite summation could produce a finite result was considered paradoxical. This paradox was resolved using the concept of a limit during the 17th century. Zeno's paradox of Achilles and the tortoise illustrates this counterintuitive property of infinite sums: Achilles runs after a tortoise, but when he reaches the position of the tortoise at the beginning of ...
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Mass
Mass is an intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the quantity of matter in a physical body, until the discovery of the atom and particle physics. It was found that different atoms and different elementary particles, theoretically with the same amount of matter, have nonetheless different masses. Mass in modern physics has multiple definitions which are conceptually distinct, but physically equivalent. Mass can be experimentally defined as a measure of the body's inertia, meaning the resistance to acceleration (change of velocity) when a net force is applied. The object's mass also determines the strength of its gravitational attraction to other bodies. The SI base unit of mass is the kilogram (kg). In physics, mass is not the same as weight, even though mass is often determined by measuring the object's weight using a spring scale, rather than balance scale comparing it directly with known masses. An object on the Moon ...
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Amplitude
The amplitude of a periodic variable is a measure of its change in a single period (such as time or spatial period). The amplitude of a non-periodic signal is its magnitude compared with a reference value. There are various definitions of amplitude (see below), which are all functions of the magnitude of the differences between the variable's extreme values. In older texts, the phase of a periodic function is sometimes called the amplitude. Definitions Peak amplitude & semi-amplitude For symmetric periodic waves, like sine waves, square waves or triangle waves ''peak amplitude'' and ''semi amplitude'' are the same. Peak amplitude In audio system measurements, telecommunications and others where the measurand is a signal that swings above and below a reference value but is not sinusoidal, peak amplitude is often used. If the reference is zero, this is the maximum absolute value of the signal; if the reference is a mean value (DC component), the peak amplitude is th ...
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Angle
In Euclidean geometry, an angle is the figure formed by two rays, called the '' sides'' of the angle, sharing a common endpoint, called the ''vertex'' of the angle. Angles formed by two rays lie in the plane that contains the rays. Angles are also formed by the intersection of two planes. These are called dihedral angles. Two intersecting curves may also define an angle, which is the angle of the rays lying tangent to the respective curves at their point of intersection. ''Angle'' is also used to designate the measure of an angle or of a rotation. This measure is the ratio of the length of a circular arc to its radius. In the case of a geometric angle, the arc is centered at the vertex and delimited by the sides. In the case of a rotation, the arc is centered at the center of the rotation and delimited by any other point and its image by the rotation. History and etymology The word ''angle'' comes from the Latin word ''angulus'', meaning "corner"; cognate words ar ...
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Gravitational Acceleration
In physics, gravitational acceleration is the acceleration of an object in free fall within a vacuum (and thus without experiencing drag). This is the steady gain in speed caused exclusively by the force of gravitational attraction. All bodies accelerate in vacuum at the same rate, regardless of the masses or compositions of the bodies; the measurement and analysis of these rates is known as gravimetry. At a fixed point on the surface, the magnitude of Earth's gravity results from combined effect of gravitation and the centrifugal force from Earth's rotation. At different points on Earth's surface, the free fall acceleration ranges from , depending on altitude, latitude, and longitude. A conventional standard value is defined exactly as . Locations of significant variation from this value are known as gravity anomalies. This does not take into account other effects, such as buoyancy or drag. Relation to the Universal Law Newton's law of universal gravitation state ...
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