"Trajectory" question for my novel

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  • #1
msjhord
I am in the midst of penning a novel and need help with a physical analogy. I've scoured google for an answer and, perhaps because I have a headache right now, my eyeballs are swimming. So, I figured I should come here and ask.

An object (in this case, a person's career) is on a trajectory. That trajectory is interrupted by an event (in this case, a workplace shooting). In physics terms, what would that event be? Or should I find a different analogy?
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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Welcome to the PF.

You could call it a "perturbation" of the trajectory, although I'm not sure that's a soft enough word for a novel...
 
  • #3
Borek
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Collision.
 
  • #4
Orodruin
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Sorry, but your question has nothing to do with physics.
 
  • #5
msjhord
@Orodruin, perhaps not. But objects on trajectories are a PHYSICS thing, right? I just want to make sure I'm using the correct terminology since my narrator is a pediatrician. As a person of science, she would use the correct term. Plus, I don't want physics folk to read this years from now and snicker at my incorrect term use.
 
  • #6
berkeman
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Sorry, but your question has nothing to do with physics.
Thread moved to the General Discussion forum. :smile:
 
  • #7
Orodruin
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But objects on trajectories are a PHYSICS thing, right?
Yes, but a carreer is not a physical object that follows a trajectory. The colloquial use of the word is more loose.
 
  • #8
msjhord
(holds her head, mutters 'oy vey') Yeah, I know. It's just a comparison between the physical and figurative.
 
  • #9
Drakkith
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I'm with Borek. Collision sounds good to me.
 
  • #10
berkeman
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An object (in this case, a person's career) is on a trajectory. That trajectory is interrupted by an event (in this case, a workplace shooting). In physics terms, what would that event be? Or should I find a different analogy?
If the event ends up changing the trajectory of their career, you could call it a "deflection"...
 
  • #11
Bystander
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trajectory is interrupted by an event
"Interruption."
 
  • #12
msjhord
It's more of a terminal thing. Her career is on a path. The event happens and she abandons the path to take up another.
 
  • #15
msjhord
Thank you
 
  • #16
kuruman
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Most of those should be perfectly viable.
These synonyms are good, but not all of them, thud e.g., are within OP's constraint of "physics terms."
 
  • #17
msjhord
Yeah, I want a physics term, but not one that is so far beyond an elementary understanding of it. Most people don't want to have dictionary.com pulled up while they're reading a book. I happen to be one of the few who doesn't mind because I love learning new words.
 
  • #18
phinds
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It's more of a terminal thing. Her career is on a path. The event happens and she abandons the path to take up another.
Disruption
 
  • #19
msjhord
Oooh, I think I like that one.
 
  • #20
berkeman
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@phinds is often a disruption... :biggrin:
 
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  • #21
msjhord
I appreciate this help. I'm 41 years old and have an Associates in Business Administration that, working as a cashier for this country's largest retailer (no, not Amazon, though I wish), I never use. Because I discovered, after ten years of office work that I HATE it. So, when I'm not working and being wife and mom, I am either sleeping, reading, or writing. I have never taken a physics course in my life, unless ninth grade physical science counts. I understand some of the principles, but a lot of it sails RIGHT over my head or makes my eyes glaze over.
 
  • #24
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An object (in this case, a person's career) is on a trajectory.
As written, this isn't a good metaphor. A trajectory is just an arc of some kind. The person's career could be following an upward trajectory (which I think is what you're trying to convey), or it could be on a downward trajectory, due to one or more events in the person's life.
 
  • #25
Drakkith
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These synonyms are good, but not all of them, thud e.g., are within OP's constraint of "physics terms."

Isn't 'thud' the 13th derivative of 'slam'?
 

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