# Limits

## Limit of sin(x)/x

Last week we looked at some recent questions about limits, where we focused first on what limits are, in terms of graphs or tables, and then on finding them by algebraic simplification. This week, we’ll look at two old questions about a trigonometric limit that can’t be determined that way: sin(x)/x, as x approaches zero.

## Limit Basics: Tables, Graphs, and Simplification

(A new question of the week) I am looking back at recent questions I’ve skipped because, though having useful content, the discussions were cut short. In the two cases we’ll see here, the student who asked a question never read the final answer, perhaps because it went to their spam folder, so the discussion was …

## Separable Differential Equations

(A new question of the week) We received a couple different questions recently about solving differential equations by separation of variables, and why the method is valid. We’ll start with a direct question about it, and then look at an attempt at an alternate perspective using differentials.

## One-sided limits of a composite function

(A new question of the week) A good way to develop a sense of what limits are and how they work comes from working with visual representations of them, in the form of graphs. In particular when the functions are defined by graphs rather than by equations, we have a lot more flexibility in creating …

## Two Inside-Out Limit Problems

(A new question of the week) Limits can be challenging. They can be even more challenging when they require L’Hôpital’s rule or more advanced methods (Maclaurin series), and then are turned inside-out by asking not for the limit itself, but for parameters that will result in a specified limit, or what values of the limit …

## A Geometrical Limit

(A new question of the week) We usually see limits applied to functions in a calculus class. An interesting question from late October deals with a limit in a geometrical construction based on a function. We’ll be seeing how to discover a proof, then several alternative proofs, and finally what the answer means.

## Infinitely Truncating a Triangle

(A new question of the week) Here is an intriguing question we got at the end of September from an adult whose name I’ll shorten to Arun. Dear Sir Let Po be an equilateral triangle of area 10. Each side of Po is trisected, and the corners are snipped off, creating a new polygon (in …

## Limits and Derivatives on the Edge

(New questions of the week) We’ve had a number of brief discussions recently, which feel too small on their own for a post; but several happen to be dealing with similar types of issues. These four questions, all from July, involve limits or derivatives at edges or holes in the domain of a function. Let’s …

## Can We Find the Area of a Sphere Exactly?

(An archive question of the week) While gathering answers to questions about volume and surface area formulas, I ran across this question that applies to all of them: Given all the approximations and assumptions we make in the derivations we show (without calculus), how can we claim that the resulting formula is exact? Or can …

## Frequently Questioned Answers: 0.999… = 1

Having looked at two common questions in probability that are often challenged, let’s turn to the realm of numbers. Non-terminating decimals are inherently problematic, and one particular example causes difficulty for many, even after they fully accept the mathematics of it. Our FAQ page on this topic, at 0.9999… = 1, is very brief, and …