AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

Force, Mass and Motion is a film in which Bell Labs mathematician Frank W. Sinden translates the equations that define many basic rules of physics into computer graphics, so one can see them play out in real time.

This film was made mostly for an audience of fellow scientists, students, etc.; it was available through The Bell System's film rental program in 1968. At that time, it was described as:

an educational film by F. W. Sinden shows how gravity-like forces and inertia affect bodies with various initial velocities. the interplay is hard to visualize, but is clear on the screen. it produces the curves in the upper picture, this film, costly with conventional animation, is inexpensive here because the computer makes pictures by solving equations... In one sense, the computer is the a "perfect laboratory"; it demonstrates exactly how our mathematical models would behave and helps us look for imperfections in our experimental apparatus when we do go ahead in the laboratory.

Sinden worked at Bell Labs for decades, retiring in the early 1990s. But on the side, he had a few unique hobbies — in the 1960s, he designed two modular mechanical board games produced by Parker Brothers — Booby Trap and Avalanche. Later in life, he became obsessed with creating novel sailboat designs.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 08/20/2012