The Path of the Shortest Time

  •  Masoud Asadi-Zeydabadi    
  •  Clyde Zaidins    


The principal of least action is one of the fundamental ideas in physics. The path of the shortest time of a particle in the presence of gravity is an example of this principal. In this paper some methods are introduced to teach the optimal path in introductory physics courses. The optimal path (path of the shortest time) is calculated for a few families of paths. Finally a numerical method according to Snell’s law in a discrete medium is used to find the general optimal path and is compared with the brachistochrone path.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9639
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9647
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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