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Re: "particle" sliding along a curve

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg70550] Re: "particle" sliding along a curve
  • From: Jean-Marc Gulliet <jeanmarc.gulliet at>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 03:22:40 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • References: <eh4pd9$8j8$>

Mattiephly at wrote:
> Hi there.  I'd like to create a Mathematica plot that displays a
> "particle" -- which will just be a small, black circle -- "sliding"
> along a curve.  That is, when I execute the Plot command, I'd like to
> watch as the particle moves along the curve from one point to another.
> I've looked at the help documents for the built in Animation abilities,
> but I'm not sure how to make use of them.  Do I really have to create a
> single plot for several positions of the particle, and then animate
> those consecutively?

Yes: this is how animations are built with Mathematica.

> For example, I'd like my particle to slide along the parabola y = x^2,
> and I'd like the particle to "slide" from x = -5 to 5 (though maybe
> show the curve from x = -10 to 10).  And I'd like to be able to control
> the "speed" of the particle, too.
> I appreciate any thoughts on this.

An excellent source of inspiration is David Park's "Elastic Collision of 
Two Balls Along a Line" notebook, freely available on his web site at (the link to the 
notebook is roughly half way of the page, under the title "Elastic 
Collision Animation")


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