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Abstract

When describing the behavior of a physical system, we specify certain physical quantities at various points in space and time. For example, a particle of a given mass may be described by its position and velocity at each space-time point. The behavior of air in a room can depend on thetemperature at each point in the room. Some of these quantities—mass, temperature, density—are completely specified by a single number with the appropriate units i.e., by a magnitude only. Such a physical quantity is called a scalar and is represented by a mathematical function of space and time called a scalar point function. We shall use italic type for symbols representing scalars (e.g., T for temperature). Others of these quantities (e.g., velocity, acceleration, force) require not only a magnitude but also a direction in order to be completely specified. For example, to specify the velocity of a particle, we must not only tell how fast the particle is moving (magnitude) but also tell in what direction it is traveling. A physical quantity of this kind is called a vector and is represented by a mathematical function of space and time called a vector point function. To denote a vector, we shall use boldface roman type (e.g., F for force).

Keywords

Angular Momentum Cross Product Linear Momentum Vector Product Constant Angular Velocity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. Seaborn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of RichmondUSA

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