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Anime And Manga
- Inverted in the Itazura Na Kiss episode, "The Crucial Moment! Class F's Winter Battle", where every high school student tutored by Irie over a very short time period, even the usually dimwitted Kotoko, manages to pass their Calculus section of the college entrance exam. Everyone, save Kinnosuke, who was too proud to get tutored.
- In the English language version of Tintin, we have Professor Calculus, apparently named so to indicate just how brilliant he is, as the direct translation "Professor Sunflower" just wouldn't have the same ring.
- Joke: Two professors are arguing in a restaurant about whether calculus was obscure or well-known. The "obscure" professor went to the men's room. The "well-known" professor asks the waitress to help him play a joke on him — when he came back, he would call her over, and ask her a question, and she should answer "one half x squared." He comes back, the professor asks him if the waitress knowing calculus would prove it, and the "obscure" professor agrees. He calls over the waitress and asks for the anti-derivative of "x". She answers, "one half x squared — plus a constant." note
- In David Brin's Uplift series practically all alien races consider any human mathematics more complex than arithmetic to be "arcane wolfling superstitions", even the Tymbrimi-created AI on the Streaker says so. Since they were all uplifted from the pre-stone age to interstellar tech by an older race they can simply use computers to brute-force any difficult mathematical problems.
- Justified in Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle — it takes place somewhere around the 18th century, when calculus was arcane knowledge and the most advanced topic in mathematics. As it actually happened, two of the main charactersnote are actively engaged in inventing it separately.
- In Relativity, this trope is averted: Yes, technically, Michael (college student) is helping Kelly (platonic friend, another college student) with calculus. But rather than just say "he's helping her with calculus," the narrative specifically mentions that he is helping her find the line integral of a vector field.
- Alan Sokal's famous Stealth Parody paper Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity makes a Running Gag about nonlinear mathematics showing the way to a new postmodern consciousness. A footnote commenting on a rather confused passage by Robert Markey incorrectly describes complex number theory as "a new and still quite speculative branch of mathematical physics," while other footnotes buffoonishly read a "pro-nuclear-energy worldview" into a book on Radon measures and liberal social attitudes into the equality and choice axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory.
Live Action Television
- The Big Bang Theory. Four of the five main characters know advanced physics, and the math behind it. But most non-scientists on the show seem to have not even gotten to linear algebra.
- Which makes sense, since linear algebra is traditionally learned after calculus and differential equations. Calculus would be preceded by college algebra and trigonometry, commonly taught as "precalculus."
- One of the things that, canonically, Chief Engineer Commander Tucker cannot do in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Family Matters also does this in one episode, where Laura complains about how difficult her calculus test was. And Urkel, of course, rants about how easy calculus is.
- From the song "White and Nerdy", by "Weird Al" Yankovic: "I do vector calculus, just for fun."
Table Top Games
- Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia. In a section on mathematics tests, calculus is given as an example of "Very Complex Mathematics". The only category higher than that is "Impossible Mathematics", such as "What is the final digit of pi?"
- The Major General in The Pirates of Penzance cites calculus as part of his educated background in his opening song.
- In Mass Effect, the biologist Mordin Solus uses a species' ability to preform calculus as a rule for ethical experimentation. Any species that can is off limits.
- In Questionable Content, while Raven is working out the topology of Marten's penis and jeans on the board, Faye mutters "is that calculus?"
- "Look lively, people! Spot calculus check!◊" Bob the Angry Flower uses calculus as a measure of whether someone's smart enough to be worth his time (given how often he's been portrayed as a Mad Scientist, it shouldn't be surprising that Bob knows higher mathematics). Notice that, while other people seem to have half-forgotten their calculus, they still have studied it at some time in the past.
- In an episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter quips "this will be easier than calculus!"
- In Kim Possible, the Mathter, despite being a mathematics-themed villain, seems to possess no knowledge of any math above basic algebra. He is understandably beaten by Ron Stoppable's father, who is an actuary and thus actually has knowledge of math of calculus level and beyond.
- In an episode of Futurama, "The Duh-Vinci Code," Professor Farnsworth says something along the lines of, "Oooh, I'm going to go listen to that calculus lecture!"
- Total Drama Revenge of the Island has the Jersey Shore reject character, Anne Maria, mention that she's "no algebra whiz" when referring to a numbers code clue.