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Example:Verify Mean Value Theorem

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Mean value theorem


For any function that is continuous on [ab] and differentiable on (ab) there exists some c in the interval (ab) such that the secant joining the endpoints of the interval [ab] is parallel to the tangent at c.

In calculus, the mean value theorem states, roughly, that given an arc of a smooth differentiable (continuous) curve, there is at least one point on that arc at which the derivative (slope) of the curve is equal (parallel) to the "average" derivative of the arc. Briefly, a suitable infinitesimal element of the arc is parallel to the secant chord connecting the endpoints of the arc. The theorem is used to prove theorems that make global conclusions about a function on an interval starting from local hypotheses about derivatives at points of the interval.

More precisely, if a function f(x) is continuous on the closed interval [ab] and differentiable on the open interval (ab), then there exists a point c in (ab) such that

(Our solved example in mathguru.com uses this concept)


This theorem can be understood intuitively by applying it to motion: If a car travels one hundred miles in one hour, then its average speed during that time was 100 miles per hour. To get at that average speed, the car either has to go at a constant 100 miles per hour during that whole time, or, if it goes slower at one moment, it has to go faster at another moment as well (and vice versa), in order to still end up with an average of 100 miles per hour. Therefore, the Mean Value Theorem tells us that at some point during the journey, the car must have been traveling at exactly 100 miles per hour; that is, it was traveling at its average speed.


Formal statement


Let f : [a, b]  R be a continuous function on the closed interval [a, b], and differentiable on the open interval (a, b), where a < b. Then there exists some c in (a, b) such that


The mean value theorem is a generalization of Rolle's theorem, which assumes f(a) = f(b), so that the right-hand side above is zero.

The mean value theorem is still valid in a slightly more general setting. One only needs to assume that f : [a, b]  R is continuous on [a, b], and that for every x in (a, b) the limit

exists as a finite number or equals +∞ or −∞. If finite, that limit equals f′(x). An example where this version of the theorem applies is given by the real-valued cube root function mapping x to x1/3, whose derivative tends to infinity at the origin.

Note that the theorem is false if a differentiable function is complex-valued instead of real-valued. For example, define f(x) = eix for all real x. Then

f (2π) − f(0) = 0 = 0(2π − 0)

while |f′(x)| = 1.




The above explanation is copied from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and is remixed as allowed under the Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.