On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 10:13:19AM -0800, I wrote:
> >Last week Ben and I chatted about taking an hour of the regular
> >meetings to explore rocket physics and, at his request, "geometry"
> >topics---first up, quaternions. So let's try that tonight.
> >
> >During tonight's regular weekly meeting, from 8pm to 9pm anyone who's
> >interested is invited to chat about rocket physics: how physicists
> >model the forces on a rocket in the abstract, and how a practical
> >computer model of those forces should work.
> Not trying to be nit-picky, but this has been bugging me for a
> while. I'll see if I can get my point accross without over-stressing
> semantics.
> One doesn't learn about algorithms by studying science; That's too
> broad. Instead, *computer science* might make more sense. Similarly,
> I think what you want to know about isn't Physics (study of motion,
> energy, forces, matter, and spacetime), but rather Dynamics (study
> of forces that cause motion) and Kinematics (study of motion without
> regard to source of forces). I suspect that the use of the term
> "Physics" comes from the term "physics engine" which started some
> years ago associated with computer games.

Partly.  It might also come from the term "physics department", which
teaches classes in dynamics and kinematics. :)  As you're suggesting, we
do indeed only care about specific subsets of physics, and in particular
the ones which have more overlap with engineering.

So, yes, for more precision we could say that we want to talk about
dynamics.  I think we actually have a decent grasp on the parts of
kinematics we need.  As far as I know, our current simulator should
handle full 6DoF motion correctly, it just doesn't have any forces that
generate rotations.  (Insert appropriate caveats about the corresponding
lack of testing here.)

- Josh Triplett

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