Lecture 2: 1D Kinematics - Speed - Velocity - Acceleration

author: Walter H. G. Lewin, Center for Future Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
recorded by: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: Oct. 10, 2008,   recorded: September 1999,   views: 120071
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)

See Also:

Download Video - generic video source Download mit801f99_lewin_lec02_01.m4v (Video - generic video source 109.8 MB)

Download Video - generic video source Download mit801f99_lewin_lec02_01.rm (Video - generic video source 111.5 MB)

Download Video Download mit801f99_lewin_lec02_01.flv (Video 147.0 MB)

Download Video Download mit801f99_lewin_lec02_01_352x240_h264.mp4 (Video 153.0 MB)

Download Video Download mit801f99_lewin_lec02_01.wmv (Video 450.5 MB)

Download subtitles Download subtitles: TT/XML, RT, SRT

Help icon Streaming Video Help

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.



1. Introduction to 1-Dimensional Motion:

Professor Lewin describes 1D motion of a particle. He talks about average velocity, the importance of "+" and "-" signs, and our free choice of origin.

2. Average Speed vs. Average Velocity:

The two are VERY different. The average velocity can be ZERO, while the average speed is LARGE.

3. Instantaneous Velocity:

Considering the incremental change in position x with time t, we arrive at v=dx/dt. The instantaneous velocity is the derivative of the position with respect to time. Professor Lewin reviews when the velocity is zero, positive and negative; he distinguishes speed from velocity.

4. Measuring the Average Speed of a Bullet:

Professor Lewin shoots a bullet through two wires. The average speed can be calculated from the distance between the wires and the elapsed time. All uncertainties in the measurements are discussed; they have to be taken into account in the final answer.

5. Introducing Average Acceleration:

The average acceleration between time t1 and t2 is the vectorial change in velocity divided by (t2-t1).

6. Instantaneous Acceleration:

The acceleration, dv/dt, is the derivative of the velocity with time. It is the second derivative of the position x with time. Professor Lewin shows how to find the sign of the acceleration from the slope in an x-t plot.

7. Quadratic Equation of Position in Time:

When the position is proportional to the square of the time, the velocity depends linearly on time, and the acceleration is constant.

8. 1D Motion with Constant Acceleration:

Professor Lewin writes down a general quadratic equation for the position as a function of time, and he relates the constants in this equation to the initial conditions at time t=0. The gravitational acceleration is a constant (9.80 m/s^2 in Boston), and it is independent of the mass and shape of a free-falling object, if air drag can be ignored (see Lecture #12). You can use this result to measure g using the free fall time measurements from the falling apples in lecture 1. 9. Strobing an Object in Free Fall: Professor Lewin drops an apple from 3.20 m and takes a polaroid picture of the falling apple which is illuminated by a strobe light. First two light flashes per second, and then ten flashes per second.

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Fred, December 14, 2009 at 9:03 p.m.:


Comment2 Rahul Bhambure, January 17, 2010 at 7:42 a.m.:


Comment3 rames, August 4, 2010 at 12:01 p.m.:

well !
if i get chance i d b lik dat!

Comment4 Apostolis, September 10, 2010 at 1:53 a.m.:

Excellent presentation by Dr. Lewin, even a dummy like myself can grip it.
One important observation:
the lecture is easily understood even by a non native english language speaker very well.

Comment5 aliabaskhan, March 17, 2011 at 8:14 a.m.:

im as student looking this vedieos really appreceioutes it can i get a cd disk of theses vedieos.

Comment6 Fangfang Dong, June 16, 2011 at 5:03 a.m.:

It's very useful for me!

Comment7 Michaelangelo, June 8, 2012 at 3:56 p.m.:

Very nice lectures!But can anybody help how can I download them?

Comment8 priya, October 27, 2012 at 4:07 p.m.:

very very useful... hope to enter MIT one fine day.......

Comment9 saifi, August 1, 2013 at 4:27 a.m.:

use IDM (internet download manager) to download vids...

Comment10 tyrone, November 4, 2013 at 6:44 p.m.:

Great video my brothaa.I iunderstood it very well.

Comment11 MANOHARAN L, September 6, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.:

He is the only one teacher so for I have seen in my
life,He is the man sent by God I think,

Comment12 wahidullah, November 27, 2014 at 6:16 a.m.:

very very useful lectures

Comment13 llol, July 23, 2015 at 11:49 p.m.:

sad that mit remove his lecture from ocw

Comment14 asim sajjad, June 14, 2016 at 8:48 p.m.:

Mr,Walter is the best teacher i have ever seen.he delivers lecture in an amazing way.i have learn so many things from him.

Comment15 Telejaye Francis, April 24, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.:

So invaluable lecture. how can i burn then on the dvd disc?

Comment16 Davor form VideoLectures, December 18, 2017 at 10:34 a.m.:

Hi all!

We have translated this entire course for you from English into 11 languages.

Check this video and give us some feedback in this short survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6DMBC3Q

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: