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brachistochrone

[bruh-kis-tuh-krohn] /brəˈkɪs təˌkroʊn/
noun, Mechanics
1.
the curve between two points that in the shortest time by a body moving under an external force without friction; the curve of quickest descent.
Origin
1765-1775
1765-75; < Greek bráchisto(s) shortest (superlative of brachýs brachy-) + chrónos time
Related forms
brachistochronic
[bruh-kis-tuh-kron-ik] /brəˌkɪs təˈkrɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
brachistochronous
[brey-kuh-stok-ruh-nuh s, brak-uh-] /ˌbreɪ kəˈstɒk rə nəs, ˌbræk ə-/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for brachistochrone
  • Another prof of mine told me about a different problem called the terrestrial brachistochrone.
British Dictionary definitions for brachistochrone

brachistochrone

/brəˈkɪstəˌkrəʊn/
noun
1.
(maths) the curve between two points through which a body moves under the force of gravity in a shorter time than for any other curve; the path of quickest descent
Word Origin
C18: from Greek brakhistos, superlative of brakhus short + chronos time
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for brachistochrone

the planar curve on which a body subjected only to the force of gravity will slide (without friction) between two points in the least possible time (see ). Finding the curve was a problem first posed by Galileo. In the late 17th century the Swiss mathematician Jakob Bernoulli offered a reward for the solution of this problem. He and his younger brother Johann, along with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Isaac Newton, and others, found the curve to be a cycloid (q.v.). See also isoperimetric problem.

Learn more about brachistochrone with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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