Second derivative test

Overview

Calculus

Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

, the

**second derivative test**is a criterion often useful for determining whether a given stationary point

Stationary point

In mathematics, particularly in calculus, a stationary point is an input to a function where the derivative is zero : where the function "stops" increasing or decreasing ....

of a function is a local maximum

Maxima and minima

In mathematics, the maximum and minimum of a function, known collectively as extrema , are the largest and smallest value that the function takes at a point either within a given neighborhood or on the function domain in its entirety .More generally, the...

or a local minimum

Maxima and minima

In mathematics, the maximum and minimum of a function, known collectively as extrema , are the largest and smallest value that the function takes at a point either within a given neighborhood or on the function domain in its entirety .More generally, the...

using the value of the second derivative

Second derivative

In calculus, the second derivative of a function ƒ is the derivative of the derivative of ƒ. Roughly speaking, the second derivative measures how the rate of change of a quantity is itself changing; for example, the second derivative of the position of a vehicle with respect to time is...

at the point.

The test states: If the function f is twice differentiable at a stationary point x, meaning that

, then:

- If then has a local maximum at .
- If then has a local minimum at .
- If , the second derivative test says nothing about the point , a possible inflection pointInflection pointIn differential calculus, an inflection point, point of inflection, or inflection is a point on a curve at which the curvature or concavity changes sign. The curve changes from being concave upwards to concave downwards , or vice versa...

.

In the last case, although the function may have a local maximum or minimum at x, because the function is sufficiently "flat" (i.e.

Unanswered Questions