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Michael Spivak, Berkeley 1974, trying to smell his shoe.
Calculus ( from Latin calculus, literally ' small pebble', used for counting and calculations, as on an abacus) is the mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations of arithmetic operations. It has two major branches, differential calculus ( concerning instantaneous rates of change and slopes of curves.