Even some physicists are surprised to learn that “jerk” is a scientific measure. That’s right! A “jerk” is the time rate of change of acceleration, or (equivalently) the third derivative of distance with respect to time.

Which reminds me of a nice story by my friend Simon Singh in his wonderful “Fermat’s Last Theorem”.

In the Fall of 1972 President Nixon announced that the rate of increase of inflation was decreasing. This was the first time a sitting president used a third derivative to advance his case for re-election.

IMAGE: From a T-shirt that I once saw.

Share This