Kinematics in One Dimension

Code for Displacement, Velocity, Acceleration and Free Falling Bodies

Example 1: Displacement

Understanding Displacement in Physics

In most physics texts one of the very first concepts that is covered is displacement.  And, in true textbook fashion, they always make it WAY more complicated than it needs to be.  I can resist sharing this complicated definition with you just for a laugh!

The displacement of an object is a vector whose magnitude is the shortest distance between the initial and final position of the motion and whose direction points from the initial to the final position.

WHAT?!?  No wonder students struggle with physics!  That was the most complicated sentence ever!

Here is my simpler definition:

Displacement is the shortest distance between More >

Physics Vectors

Physics Vectors: The Difference Between Speed and Velocity

photo credit: crazycatchthecat

When vectors are first introduced most students find them a bit confusing.  This is because they are typically introduced too early in the curriculum and it is not obvious why they are needed.

This explanation of physics vectors is as simple as it gets: The difference between “speed” and “velocity”.

In “physics speak” speed is considered a scalar and velocity is considered a vector – but WHY?  Aren’t they the same thing?


Check out the picture in this post.  Two guys are pulling on the girl’s arms and let’s assume that one of the guys is way stronger than the other More >