In mathematics, any combination of derivatives applied to a function. It takes the form of a polynomial of derivatives, such as D2 D2 D2, where D2 is a second derivative and the subscripts indicate partial derivatives. Special differential operators include the gradient, divergence, curl, and Laplace operator (see Laplace's equation). Differential operators provide a generalized way to look at differentiation as a whole, as well as a framework for discussion of the theory of differential equations.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on differential operator, visit Britannica.com.
What made you look up differential operator? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.
Take Our 10-Question Quiz
The commonly misspelled words quiz
A quick quiz about stuff worth knowing
How strong is your vocabulary?