Math Insight

Highlighted pages

  • Introduction to partial derivatives
    The concept of partial derivatives is introduced with an illustration of heating costs. Interactive graphics demonstrate the properties of partial derivatives.
  • The idea of the curl of a vector field
    Intuitive introduction to the curl of a vector field. Interactive graphics illustrate basic concepts.
  • Spherical coordinates
    Illustration of spherical coordinates with interactive graphics.
  • An introduction to parametrized curves
    An introduction to how a vector-valued function of a single variable can be viewed as parametrizing a curve. Interactive graphics illustrate the way in which the function maps an interval onto a curve.
  • Subtleties about divergence
    Counterexamples illustrating how the divergence of a vector field may differ from the intuitive appearance of the expansion of a vector field.

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Highlighted applets

Welcome to Math Insight

The Math Insight web site is a collection of pages and applets designed to shed light on concepts underlying a few topics in mathematics. The focus is on qualitative description rather than getting all technical details precise. Many of the pages were designed to be read even before students attend lecture on the topic, so they are intended to be somewhat readable introductions to the basic ideas.

You can browse the pages organized into threads, which are sequences through a subset of pages organized by particular topics. An index can help you find pages discussing a particular term. You can also search through the pages, applets, and image captions. A few pages allow you to change the notation system used to render the mathematics.

We hope Math Insight can help you understand key mathematical concepts. We welcome comments on how we can improve it.