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 41,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    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.
    1 person likes this.
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