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Need a list on derivatives in Physics

  1. Feb 5, 2006 #1
    For a school project, I am trying to compile a good sized list of the interelation of derivatives in physics. I know I can just go through every page in my book but does anyone know any handy links off hand?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2006 #2


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    You mean, the derivative of a function, as in calculus ?

    If it's that, know that the mathematical concept of derivative was essentially invented to express a certain concept in physics: "change". Newton and Leibniz are considered to be its inventors.
    "change of position with time" = velocity
    Newton needed to write down velocity as a function of time, when he had position as a function of time. Hence his definition of velocity v = dx /dt

    "change of velocity with time" = acceleration, a = dv/dt = d^2 x/dt^2

    Acceleration is the second derivative wrt time, of position.

    Newton needed that, to write his famous law: mass x acceleration = force

    But the concept of derivative got also used in other ways. For instance, the ELECTRIC FIELD is (minus) the change of potential with position:
    E_x = - dV/dx

    Note that we now have a derivative towards space, not towards time. So the derivative concept is used further than just "change in time".

    In modern physics, derivatives abound, in many ways...
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