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This module describes notation for functions.

Function notation

Functions are represented in math by parentheses. When you write f ( x ) size 12{f \( x \) } {} you indicate that the variable f size 12{f} {} is a function of—or depends on—the variable x size 12{x} {} .

For instance, suppose f ( x ) = x 2 + 3x size 12{f \( x \) =x rSup { size 8{2} } +3x} {} . This means that f is a function that takes whatever you give it, and squares it, and multiplies it by 3, and adds those two quantities.

7 10 x y a dog x-squared plus 3x Gearbox f ( 7 ) = 7 2 + 3 ( 7 ) = 70 f ( 10 ) = 10 2 + 3 ( 10 ) = 130 f ( x ) = x 2 + 3x f ( y ) = y 2 + 3y f ( dog ) = ( dog ) 2 + 3 ( dog ) ( *not in the domain )

The notation f ( 7 ) size 12{f \( 7 \) } {} means “plug the number 7 into the function f size 12{f} {} .” It does not indicate that you are multiplying f size 12{f} {} times 7. To evaluate f ( 7 ) size 12{f \( 7 \) } {} you take the function f ( x ) size 12{f \( x \) } {} and replace all occurrences of the variable x with the number 7. If this function is given a 7 it will come out with a 70.

If we write f ( y ) = y 2 + 3y size 12{f \( y \) =y rSup { size 8{2} } +3y} {} we have not specified a different function . Remember, the function is not the variables or the numbers, it is the process. f ( y ) = y 2 + 3y size 12{f \( y \) =y rSup { size 8{2} } +3y} {} also means “whatever number comes in, square it, multiply it by 3, and add those two quantities.” So it is a different way of writing the same function.

Just as many students expect all variables to be named x size 12{x} {} , many students—and an unfortunate number of parents—expect all functions to be named f size 12{f} {} . The correct rule is that—whenever possible— functions, like variables, should be named descriptively . For instance, if Alice makes $100/day, we might write:

  • Let m equal the amount of money Alice has made (measured in dollars)
  • Let t equal the amount of time Alice has worked (measured in days)
  • Then, m ( t ) = 100 t size 12{m \( t \) ="100"t} {}

This last equation should be read “ m size 12{m} {} is a function of t size 12{t} {} (or m size 12{m} {} depends on t size 12{t} {} ). Given any value of the variable t size 12{t} {} , you can multiply it by 100 to find the corresponding value of the variable m size 12{m} {} .”

Of course, this is a very simple function! While simple examples are helpful to illustrate the concept, it is important to realize that very complicated functions are also used to model real world relationships. For instance, in Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, if an object is going very fast, its mass is multiplied by 1 1 v 2 9 10 16 size 12{ { {1} over { sqrt {1 - { {v rSup { size 8{2} } } over {9 cdot "10" rSup { size 8{"16"} } } } } } } } {} . While this can look extremely intimidating, it is just another function. The speed v size 12{v} {} is the independent variable, and the mass m size 12{m} {} is dependent. Given any speed v size 12{v} {} you can determine how much the mass m size 12{m} {} is multiplied by.

Questions & Answers

a diagram of an adult mosquito
mubarak Reply
what are white blood cells
Mlungisi Reply
white blood cell is part of the immune system. that help fight the infection.
what about tissue celss
Cells with a similar function, form a tissue. For example the nervous tissue is composed by cells:neurons and glia cells. Muscle tissue, is composed by different cells.
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explain if oxygen is necessary for photosynthesis
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Yes, the plant does need oxygen. The plant uses oxygen, water, light, and produced food. The plant use process called photosynthesis.
By using the energy of sunlight, plants convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen by photosynthesis. This happens during the day and sunlight is needed.
no. it s a product of the process
yet still is it needed?
no. The reaction is: 6CO2+6H20+ solar energy =C6H12O6(glucose)+602. The plant requires Carbon dioxyde, light, and water Only, and produces glucose and oxygen( which is a waste).
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the study of non and living organism is called.
Is call biology
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what is a cell
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A cell is a basic structure and functional unit of life
what is biolgy
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is the study of living and non living organisms
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anabolism and catabolism
Sani Reply
Anabolism refers to the process in methabolism in which complex molecules are formed "built" and requires energy to happen. Catabolism is the opposite process: complex molecules are deconstructed releasing energy, such as during glicolysis.
Explain briefly independent assortment gene .
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draw and lable the cell
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Source:  OpenStax, Math 1508 (lecture) readings in precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Aug 24, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11354/1.1
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