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Visualizing the Brachistochrone Problem
Author

Robert Root
Organization: Lafayette College
Department: Mathematics
Old MathSource #

0206-266
Revision date

2000-06-08
Description

The brachistochrone problem is one of the most famous in analysis. First posed by Johann Bernoulli in 1696, the problem consists of finding the curve that will transport a particle most rapidly from one point to a second not directly below it, under the force of gravity only. The solution to the problem is a cycloid connecting the two points. This item contains a package defining commands that create animations of the the brachistochrone problem. The commands allow the introduction of friction, and there is a command that allows one to animate a "race" of particles dropping down two competing curves.
Subjects

*Mathematica Technology > Programming > 2D Graphics
*Mathematica Technology > Programming > Animations
Keywords

Brachistochrone problem, cycloid animation, graphics, courseware, calculus education
Downloads Download Wolfram CDF Player

Download
BrachExample.nb (1002.3 KB) - Example notebook
Download
Brachistochrone.m (7.7 KB) - Mathematica package defining the commands

Files specific to Mathematica 2.2 version:
Download
BrachExample.ma (340 KB) - Example notebook