Reading "Atmospheric Thermodynamics" I'm stumped almost as soon as I've started. I've probably bitten off more than I can chew and this also might even be more of a math question than a physics one but where I'm stuck is where they "simplify" from: mv . dv/dt = -mgv . ez (where ez is a unit vector on the z-axis and the dots signify scalar multiplication by v) to d/dt 1/2mv . v = d/dt 1/2 mv2 = -mg dz/dt What I do get is that on the right we have v . ez = dz/dt, since velocity is the derivative of displacement (z) with respect to time. What I don't get is the operation on the left by which the d/dt is just magically pulled out, leaving the v behind to work its own kind of magic on the other v. The text simply says "This equation can be simplified:" so I guess the authors presume a reader of more skill than I currently have in terms of playing with derivatives. What is it about a derivative that allows that d/dt to be stripped of its v and yanked out in front like that? And where the heck does that 1/2 appear from?