What can I consider 'fundamental definitions'?

  1. What are considered fundamental definitions? For context, a question was posed where the prof. provided parametric equations for the motion of a satellite in orbit and said that we can use the provided equations, fundamental definitions, and no other equations to solve the problems.

    What does that mean?

    I thought I had an idea of what that meant but a part of the question asks for us to solve for momentum but none of the parametric equations contain momentum explicitly which means we have to use -some other relationship- to introduce momentum to the system of equations. So, I thought I would pose that question here and see what you guys think.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 40,549
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Chegg
    Well, if the problem asks for "momentum", the definition of momentum would be pretty fundamental wouldn't it?
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Absolutely, but that doesn't help me work out what relationships are fundamental. I say this because if we suppose that all relationship that are necessary to solve the problem are fundamental we get nowhere because even then I can't know which are fundamental until I know how to solve the problem. Is it truly this arbitrary or is there some sort of distinction that I can use to at least make a reasonable argument that something is fundamental?
     
  5. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd ask your professor exactly what they mean by "fundamental definitions". Our opinions here could be entirely different from what he actually meant.
     
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