Through language we
are able to communicate with each other. The most common forms of
language are: oral, written and graphical. Nowadays, graphics
represent one way of expressing and transmitting information. The
media often express information by means of tables and graphs as they
offer a fast, visual interpretation as well as showing how certain
variables depend on others.
Although most
scientists in the XVII century were interested in the study of motion
(e.g. paths of projectiles, distance travelled and greatest height
reached; working out the position of a body out at sea and how to get
to a place). The fact that measuring instruments lacked a high level
of precision made it difficult to produce accurate tables for
different variables and this prevented the study of functions
happening earlier.
Newton (16421727)
was first to deal with the concept of a function. he used the term
"fluents" or "flowing quantities" to refer to any relationship between variables.
Leibniz (16461716)
used the word "function" for the first time to refer to the
quantities a variable depends on. He also used the words
"constant, variable and parameter" for the first time in
this context. Euler (17071783) is to thank for f(x),
the form we commonly use now to express a function.
