Talk:Displacement (vector)

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Position and Displacement

I have tried to introduce some consistency with the use of the word "displacement". The big issue is that velocity should be the rate of change of position and not the rate of change of displacement. Also it is better to use x for position in one dimension, r for position in three dimensions and then Δx or Δr for displacement in one or three dimesions respectively. I try and avoid the previously common practice of using "s" for displacement as this tends to hide the fact that displacement is indeed a change in position. However I have had some difficulty in inserting the Δ in some of the formulae and so I have not be able to complete the change from "s" to "Δx" in all the formulae.Phillip (talk) 12:04, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

This is something that also needs to be corrected in the infobox at the bottom of the page. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 11:21, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. I think we should start with (linear) displacements (as actions) and then velocities are rates of displacement and position vectors are displacements of/from a defined origin. Note especially that we can define velocities without defining either a coordinate system or an origin point.

Note then that one needn't define displacements in terms of a coordinate system but purely as actions on a space of points. Then position vectors are defined in terms of an origin point and displacements and ultimately (rectilinear) coordinates are defined by the origin and by the basis on the space of displacements.

Regards, James Baugh (talk) 21:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

I have edited the introductory definitions to reflect displacements as independent of origin and thus of position vectors. In geometry we do not need a coordinate system or origin to define a displacement. I think there may be too much tangential material on velocities etc but didn't cut, only rephrased. I also dropped the comment on the link to affine space since the point space in which we define displacements essentially is an affine space. We are not distinguishing displacements from positions there but rather here... they are already distinct. The space of displacements is the translational component of affine transformations on a geometric space.

This article still needs some work. I'll look back later and see if I can tweak further and add references. Regards, James Baugh (talk) 22:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)


Is it safe to say that if I am 1.5 meters tall, that quantity(1.5) is NOT a vector? Also, is it safe to say that if, since I was a zygote, that my height increased by 1.5 meters, that quantity(1.5) IS a vector? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:32, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

No - that would not be an example of a vector. A vector is a quantity that has both a magnitude and a direction. It does not depend on a quantity changing. Suppose there is a town exactly 100 miles north of where you are now. The statement that the town is 100 miles away from where you are is not a vector. The statement that the town is 100 miles north of you is a vector quantity. Hope this helps. PhySusie (talk) 12:28, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Magnitude + direction is actually the naive definition of a vector. To truly be a vector it must transform in the right way, Position "vectors" do not transform in the right way, displacements do.-DB


Is there any useful application of the integral of displacement with respect to time? 20:26, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Not particularly. There are useful applications of the integral with respect to arc length, as in finding the distance traveled, or in integrating functions over the path. But simply with respect to time, I cannot think of any.Corkgkagj (talk) 15:41, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, if peeople can come up with jounce, crackle and pop they should go the other way too. For completeness sake any references for a term that could go to the left of displacement in the kinematics template? (talk) 20:28, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Calculating Displacement

These can be used to calculate displacement where u=initial velocity, t=time, a=acceleration, v=final velocity hylian_loach 12:11, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

I wasn't sure whether to add it into the article not knowing if it was listed in another, or unsuitable.hylian_loach 12:13, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
Why don't you add it? It's what I was looking for, it's vital for physics. LOTRrules (talk) 19:12, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I've added the additional sections as I thought the previous sections are a little confusing. I've added something about height and the relation to the equations of motion. LOTRrules (talk) 19:54, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

First sentences

The first sentence in the intro is: "A displacement is a relative motion between two points independent of the path taken."

It is true that a displacement of a point P is a "relative position" of P, i.e. the final position of P relative to its initial position. The expression "relative motion between two points" is not the best way to express this concept.

The second sentence is: "The displacement is thus distinct from the distance traveled by the object along given path."

Here, the use of italics typeface is misleading. The reader might think that a displacement is not a distance. On the contrary, it is a distance imaginarily traveled along a straight line, distinct from the distance (actually) traveled by the point.

The third sentence is: "The displacement vector then defines the motion in terms of translation along a straight line."

Here, the word "translation" is misused. This word refers to the motion of a rigid body, which does not rotate (i.e. does not change its orientation in space). Here, we refer to the motion of a point, and a point does not have an orientation in space.

I rewrote these sentences. Paolo.dL (talk) 21:57, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

`distance vs displacement` diagram

The diagram shows the difference between the taken route (the path) and the shortest route (as the crow flies), but doesn't show the difference between the scalar (distance) and the vector (displacement) very well. The diagram implies that distance is only used for paths; which is false as it can be used on straight lines. -- (talk) 15:58, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

The "snap/crackle/pop" survives

The crackle page has been successfully deleted, but the snap/crackle/pop survives on Wikipedia here and else where. I have never heard of the 4th, 5th and 6th derivatives of position referred to in this way until I came across the page on Wikipedia. Has anyone else ever heard these terms used in any class, book or talk?

It is definitely not Wikipedia's place to introduce new terminology. If a suitable source for these terms can not be found I would like to systematically remove them from Wikipedia.

Phancy Physicist (talk) 07:44, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

There were references to the term in published books in the deleted article. The term has certainly been used in academia. I don't see any advantage in deleting it altogether. Szzuk (talk) 22:28, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
The reason I want to remove it so badly is that if it is not the accepted terminology but it is on Wikipedia anyways, people might start using it as if it was. All references I have found supporting "snap/crackle/pop" all come back to this [[1]]. And in the text of this page I see:
"Another less serious suggestion is snap (symbol s), crackle (symbol c) and pop (symbol p) for the 4th, 5th and 6th derivatives respectively." and "Needless to say, none of these are in any kind of standards, yet. We just made them up on usenet."
I am really am a physicist by trade and have been to many talks, and in many mathematics and physicist classes, even taught a few. I have never heard or seen these terms used by anybody but people who reference Wikipedia or the above page. If I am wrong so be it but I want proof.
I am not attacking Szzuk by any means. I thank them for responding. But what I am looking for is a book or something very reliable to support the use of these terms.
Phancy Physicist (talk) 03:22, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Comment. Ask the deleting sysop to send you a copy of the deleted article and you can add the refs yourself. Szzuk (talk) 13:03, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

In January 2012, this issue was mentioned on the Science Reference Desk (here). As I stated verbatim on the desk:

Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate list of any term anybody ever used to describe anything. Those names are uncommon. I have removed them from the article, and replaced the section with a discussion, including cited sources.

I have rewritten the section and cited a reliable textbook. The burden of evidence is on anyone who wishes to re-add these uncommon names for higher-order terms. Nimur (talk) 21:53, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

shot and put (9th and 10th derivatives)

I read about "shot" and "put" at the jounce page, and I wanted to add them here, but they start with letters some previous derivatives start too, so I don't know what symbol to put! any suggestions? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:25, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

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