Q&A #3922

Third derivative

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From: Pat Ballew (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 11, 2000 at 19:21:47
Subject: Re: Third derivative

I'm not sure if it is a formal or informal name, but we always called the third derivative of position the "jerk". The reason it seems so appropriate is because if the third derivative is zero (acceleration is constant) then you can not tell the difference between a 1g gravity pull from a mass and a 1g accelerated movement (this is the classic idea of Einstein's closed elevator illustration). It is the change of acceleration that causes you to feel a "jerk". Hope that is what the real physics pros call it... good luck. -Pat Ballew, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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