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Chapter 2 : Limits

The topic that we will be examining in this chapter is that of Limits. This is the first of three major topics that we will be covering in this course. While we will be spending the least amount of time on limits in comparison to the other two topics limits are very important in the study of Calculus. We will be seeing limits in a variety of places once we move out of this chapter. In particular we will see that limits are part of the formal definition of the other two major topics.

Here is a list of topics that are in this chapter.

Tangent Lines and Rates of Change –In this section we will introduce two problems that we will see time and again in this course : Rate of Change of a function and Tangent Lines to functions. Both of these problems will be used to introduce the concept of limits, although we won't formally give the definition or notation until the next section.

The Limit – In this section we will introduce the notation of the limit. We will also take a conceptual look at limits and try to get a grasp on just what they are and what they can tell us. We will be estimating the value of limits in this section to help us understand what they tell us. We will actually start computing limits in a couple of sections.

One-Sided Limits – In this section we will introduce the concept of one-sided limits. We will discuss the differences between one-sided limits and limits as well as how they are related to each other.

Limit Properties – In this section we will discuss the properties of limits that we’ll need to use in computing limits (as opposed to estimating them as we've done to this point). We will also compute a couple of basic limits in this section.

Computing Limits – In this section we will looks at several types of limits that require some work before we can use the limit properties to compute them. We will also look at computing limits of piecewise functions and use of the Squeeze Theorem to compute some limits.

Infinite Limits – In this section we will look at limits that have a value of infinity or negative infinity. We’ll also take a brief look at vertical asymptotes.

Limits At Infinity, Part I – In this section we will start looking at limits at infinity, i.e. limits in which the variable gets very large in either the positive or negative sense. We will concentrate on polynomials and rational expressions in this section. We’ll also take a brief look at horizontal asymptotes.

Limits At Infinity, Part II – In this section we will continue covering limits at infinity. We’ll be looking at exponentials, logarithms and inverse tangents in this section.

Continuity – In this section we will introduce the concept of continuity and how it relates to limits. We will also see the Intermediate Value Theorem in this section and how it can be used to determine if functions have solutions in a given interval.

The Definition of the Limit – In this section we will give a precise definition of several of the limits covered in this section. We will work several basic examples illustrating how to use this precise definition to compute a limit. We’ll also give a precise definition of continuity.