Vector Calculus Independent Study Path
Unit 3: Scalar Valued Functions
Scalar valued functions of several variables are fundamental to the
study of vector calculus. For one thing, it is possible to break
any vector valued function up into component functions, each of which
is scalar valued. For another, they are the most direct generalization
of the single variable functions you studied in calculus, and have all
of the wonderful applications that you've come to love and expect
(for example, max/min problems).
In this unit, you will learn:
For more detailed instructions, see the Xdvi
or PDF pages.
- How to graph scalar valued functions of two variables.
- How to find the level sets of scalar valued functions of two or
- How to calculate partial derivatives.
- How to compute the gradient.
- How to find the tangent plane to a graph.
- How to use the chain rule.
- How to calculate directional derivatives.
- Read and do some problems from
- Rogers Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11,
- Marsden and Tromba chapter 2 (if you have the 4th edition, read
section 3.1 as well), or
- Simmons sections 19.1 through 19.6
- Take the Sample Test, Xdvi or PDF.
- Take a unit test.
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Last modified November 5, 1998