Introducing the Exponential Function
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF PHYSICS
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The exponential function appears in a number of places in introductory physics, such as damped oscillations, radioactive populations, LR and RC circuits, isothermal and adiabatic processes for an ideal gas, and atmospheric pressure as a function of altitude. The purpose of this article is to introduce the exponential function, without using calculus, for the benefit of students in an algebra-based course. The key point is that the exponential is that special function yx whose slope at any point x is equal to the value y of the function at that same point.
- Numerical Mathematics