Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

The galloping horse

Figure e on page 210 shows outlines traced from the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth frames in Muybridge's series of photographs of the galloping horse. The estimated location of the horse's center of mass is shown with a circle, which bobs above and below the horizontal dashed line.

If we don't care about calculating velocities and accelerations in any particular system of units, then we can pretend that the time between frames is one unit. The horse's velocity vector as it moves from one point to the next can then be found simply by drawing an arrow to connect one position of the center of mass to the next. This produces a series of velocity vectors which alternate between pointing above and below horizontal.

The Δv vector is the vector which we would have to add onto one velocity vector in order to get the next velocity vector in the series. The Δv vector alternates between pointing down (around the time when the horse is in the air, B) and up (around the time when the horse has two feet on the ground, D).

Last Update: 2010-11-11