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Math Help - question on notation for partial derivatives

  1. #1
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    question on notation for partial derivatives

    what does it mean when a partial derivative has a prime on it? usually i just see partial derivatives as f and a subscript x but i recently came across f with a subscript x and a prime on the top. just curious, what does that mean?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by oblixps View Post
    what does it mean when a partial derivative has a prime on it? usually i just see partial derivatives as f and a subscript x but i recently came across f with a subscript x and a prime on the top. just curious, what does that mean?
    Do you mean like this f'_x

    ?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by adkinsjr View Post
    Do you mean like this f'_x

    ?
    yes, sorry if my description was confusing. can you tell me what f'_x means?
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  4. #4
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    One possibility: f is a function of position and time (so it is a physics problem) and they are using the ' to distinguish differentiation with respect to time, t, while using the partial derivative to indicate differentiation with respect to a space variable.

    Another possibility: there are (at least) two different "f" functions, one called f and the other called f' and the prime is used only to distinguish functions.

    Which, if either, of those is correct would depend on the context.
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