cow double dot

In my last Strukturdynamik lecture, I was pretty happy because I was understanding the technical vocabulary used during the lecture itself and in the textbook. But while listening to the professor speak, some of my friends from exchange program and I noticed something.

The professor was referring to a displacement of a beam being analyzed in an example as the variable q. As in, when the beam was pulled down, the end of the beam moved downward q centimeters. Similarly, the velocity of the movement of the beam was the time-derivative of q, often referred to as q-dot because it is written as a q with a dot over it. Acceleration, the second time-derivative of q, is q-double-dot.

Now’s a good time to mention that the letter q, in German, is pronounced very similarly to Kuh, the word for cow.

As soon as we realized why the professor kept talking about cows, we all started cracking up every time he mentioned q as a displacement variable in an example problem. And we did a lot of example problems.  Cow, cow, cow-dot.

In a break during the lecture, I drew you a picture.

derivative cows, inspired by my strukturdynamik class

As a translation, Kuh = cow, Punkt = dot, doppel = double. And µ is pronounced “mu,” for those of you who aren’t up-to-speed on your Greek pronunciation.

We noticed a few other funny pronunciation things, but the comics for those either aren’t drawn yet or didn’t turn out as well. But I may never be able to keep a straight face in Strukturdynamik again. 😀


4 thoughts on “cow double dot

    • It will definitely make some things easier to remember. Such as needing cow dot for certain parts of a system, but cow-double-dot for some other component. Or a system having three cows. Shorter to say than “degrees of freedom,” and all of us in the exchange program would probably understood what that meant. Of course, the time we would spend giggling about the system’s cows would negate the time-saving, but it’s fun.

  1. I had an Indian professor at Penn State who had a little trouble pronouncing the word focal as in focal points for controls. It sounded like a dirty word and the word “all”. Hilarity ensued. And sorry for the crude humor, your story just reminded me of it.

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