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Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds

University of Leicester via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Mathematics is at the heart of many aspects of modern life. Whether playing a game on your mobile phone, watching a Grand Prix or waking up to sunlight in the morning, maths (and more precisely, calculus) is behind the scenes.

Maths is also used in many disciplines - from economics to engineering, biology to geography. But many of us struggle with maths, and find formulae and theories difficult to grasp, meaning that we can find ourselves at a disadvantage when thinking about certain careers.

The aim of this free online course is to demonstrate the practical uses of calculus and show that maths need not be daunting. It will give a basic introduction to the subject, with links to further resources for those who want to study at a more advanced level.

Learn calculus using familiar, real world applications

We will take familiar, real world activities, such as motor racing and mobile games like Angry Birds, and use them to uncover the basic elements of calculus.

Together, we will look at the key ideas of calculus and how they are applied in real life situations:

  • differentiation: how things change
  • integration: how we put these changes together to decide what will happen in the future
  • and the fundamental theorem of calculus: how differentiation and integration are related.

Get tips from people who use calculus everyday

We will meet experts from economics, physics and engineering, who will describe how they use maths in their own work. In this way, you’ll be learning about some powerful uses of mathematics through some very familiar, real world applications.

Join us on a journey from the race track to the solar system, and gain valuable insights as you travel.

We assume no previous knowledge of calculus, or anything more complex than a general knowledge of numbers and basic algebra.

This course is aimed at those at school, or applying for college or university. But it will also be useful and relevant to students in higher education; practitioners in a range of disciplines; and anyone who has found mathematics difficult through traditional teaching methods.

Taught by

Jeremy Levesley


2.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

Start your review of Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds

  • Cyn Gar
    I took Calculus in school but didn't understand how to actually implement it. Based on the description of this course, I was hoping that someone would finally explain that to me. While there are illustrative Physics examples, there is still a disconnect of how one would come up with an equation to differentiate. In my case I didn't learn anything new.

    However, it is a nice introduction to the basics and differences between Differential and Integral Calculus.

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