Abstract: Dressed in clown suit and dunce cap (his standard garb), Mathis makes a comical attempt to turn the calculus entirely upside down.
Don’t be fooled by the title, this is not really about variable acceleration at all. It actually involves turning the calculus on its head; a full one-eighty:
According to Mathis, physicists have got it all backwards; “upside down”, as he puts it:
“Students are currently taught to differentiate a distance to get a velocity and differentiate a velocity to get an acceleration, when that is upside down. In other words, if you are given an acceleration and you want to find the velocity, you differentiate. The entire modern interpretation of the calculus is upside down!” — Miles Mathis
Alright, so Mathis is telling us that everything is backwards. To find the velocity, we must take the derivative of the acceleration. This is not a joke; that is his claim. As Mathis defines it, velocity is the rate of change in acceleration:
“The derivative of an acceleration is a velocity.” — Miles Mathis
However, this would automatically imply that if the acceleration is constant (unchanging), then the velocity would have to be zero. Hard to believe, but that’s his harebrained theory. So let’s try differentiating the acceleration, just to see if Mathis has made a new revolutionary discovery.
Assume an object has been dropped from the top of a building and falls in a straight line with a constant uniform acceleration due to gravity of 9.81 m/s2. In other words, the acceleration does not change over time; it is a constant, and can be described by the following equation: a(t) = 9.81 m/s2 (See graph below)
Now according to Mathis, to find the velocity we must differentiate this equation. So let’s do that, and see what happens:
The velocity is zero? That’s right; the derivative of a constant is zero. So Mathis would have us believe that an object dropped from the top of a building will have a zero velocity as it falls. The sheer stupidity of this man is virtually unbounded.
In closing, Mathis has proved again (as if there were any doubt), exactly why he has become the laughing stock of the science world.
Note: This paper was last revised on 06/24/2013