53
Motion in One
Dimension
I didn’t learn until I was nearly through with college that I could understand a book much better if I
mentally outlined it for myself before I actually began reading. It’s a technique that warns my
brain to get little cerebral file folders ready for the different topics I’m going to learn, and as I’m
they’re preparing for this other thing that comes later,” or “I don’t need to sweat the details of this
idea now, because they’re going to explain it in more detail later on.”
At this point, you’re about to dive in to the main subjects of this book, which are force and motion.
The concepts you’re going to learn break down into the following three areas:
kinematics — how to describe motion numerically
dynamics — how force affects motion
vectors — a mathematical way of handling the three-dimensional nature of force and motion
Roughly speaking, that’s the order in which we’ll cover these three areas, but the earlier chapters
do contain quite a bit of preparation for the later topics. For instance, even before the present
point in the book you’ve learned about the Newton, a unit of force. The discussion of force
properly belongs to dynamics, which we aren’t tackling head-on for a few more chapters, but I’ve
found that when I teach kinematics it helps to be able to refer to forces now and then to show
why it makes sense to define certain kinematical concepts. And although I don’t explicitly
introduce vectors until ch. 8, the groundwork is being laid for them in earlier chapters.
Here’s a roadmap to the rest of the book:
preliminaries
chapters 0-1
motion in one
dimension
chapters 2-6
motion in three
dimensions
chapters 7-9
gravity:
chapter 10
kinematicsdynamicsvectors
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