Introduction to Integrals, Exponential Functions, and Logarithms

What you’ll learn to do: Apply integration and derivatives to exponential and natural logarithmic functions

We already examined exponential functions and logarithms in earlier chapters. However, we glossed over some key details in the previous discussions. For example, we did not study how to treat exponential functions with exponents that are irrational. The definition of the number [latex]e[/latex] is another area where the previous development was somewhat incomplete. We now have the tools to deal with these concepts in a more mathematically rigorous way, and we do so in this section.

For purposes of this section, assume we have not yet defined the natural logarithm, the number [latex]e[/latex], or any of the integration and differentiation formulas associated with these functions. By the end of the section, we will have studied these concepts in a mathematically rigorous way (and we will see they are consistent with the concepts we learned earlier).

We begin the section by defining the natural logarithm in terms of an integral. This definition forms the foundation for the section. From this definition, we derive differentiation formulas, define the number [latex]e,[/latex] and expand these concepts to logarithms and exponential functions of any base.