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Homework Help: Difference between Position Vector & Displacement Vector? (no calculatins)

  1. Jan 23, 2012 #1
    Difference between "Position Vector" & "Displacement Vector?" (no calculatins..)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Position_(vector [Broken])

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(vector [Broken])

    Is the position vector simply an initial vector given by coordinates (x,y) or (x,y,z) such as (8,4) or (8,4,5)..

    While the displacement vector is simply the difference between two given vectors on an xy or xyz plane, such as Vector A minus Vector B representing ([itex]\stackrel{9}{5}[/itex]) - ([itex]\stackrel{5}{10}[/itex]) minus Vector C, being ([itex]\stackrel{4}{-5}[/itex]) ..with Vector C being the Displacement Vector?

    P.S. The numbers in the second paragraph are supposed to be vector columns. I tried to create them using the "stack" function under "above and below" in the Latex Reference menu.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2012 #2
    Re: Difference between "Position Vector" & "Displacement Vector?" (no calculatins..)

    A vector has a magnitude and direction. A position has no direction, but only occupys space. A displacement vector is in fact the difference between points in space occupying more than a single point with a magnitude and direction.
  4. Jan 23, 2012 #3

    I like Serena

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    Re: Difference between "Position Vector" & "Displacement Vector?" (no calculatins..)

    Note that a position vector is also a displacement vector relative to an arbitrary origin.

    In latex you can write vectors like
    Code (Text):
    \begin{pmatrix} x \\ y \end{pmatrix}
    which looks like:
    $$\begin{pmatrix} x \\ y \end{pmatrix}$$

    Some people prefer:
    $$\begin{bmatrix} x \\ y \end{bmatrix}$$
  5. Jan 23, 2012 #4
    Re: Difference between "Position Vector" & "Displacement Vector?" (no calculatins..)

    Thanks, I like Serena, for the confirmation and the Latex notation help. Much appreciated!!.

    clesling, I think there is some confusion between "position" and "position vector." One is a point in space with no magnitude or direction and the other is a displacement between a point in space and an arbitrary origin. I am now confident that is correct :)
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