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Perfect Form
Author: Don Lemons

ISBN: 9780691026633
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 136
Published: 14 February 1997
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.8
Description:


What does the path taken by a ray of light share with the trajectory of a thrown baseball and the curve of a wheat stalk bending in the breeze? Each is the subject of a different study yet all are optimal shapes; light rays minimize travel time while a thrown baseball minimizes action. All natural curves and shapes, and many artificial ones, manifest such "perfect form" because physical principles can be expressed as a statement requiring some important physical quantity to be mathematically maximum, minimum, or stationary. "Perfect Form" introduces the basic "variational" principles of classical physics (least time, least potential energy, least action, and Hamilton's principle), develops the mathematical language most suited to their application (the calculus of variations), and presents applications from the physics usually encountered in introductory course sequences.

The text gradually unfolds the physics and mathematics. While other treatments postulate Hamilton's principle and deduce all results from it, "Perfect Form" begins with the most plausible and restricted variational principles and develops more powerful ones t...

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