# Math Functions and Operations

### 1. Math basics

You’ll often need to define a mathematical expression when working with either the Data tool or Modeling. Mostly you’ll use the same basic math operators as those you might use in a spreadsheet program or other electronic tools:

 + Addition - Subtraction * Multiplication / Division ^ Power () Parentheses to define order of operation

Example: For an object dropped under the force of gravity at time t = 0 and initial y position = 0, its y position as a function of time would be expressed by this equation (or one of its various equivalents):

y = (1/2)*ay*t^2   -or-   y = (ay*t^2)/2

where the vertical acceleration (ay) = -9.81

Good practice: If you’re not sure how any electronic tool will apply order of operations, define that order properly using parentheses.

Beyond these basic operators, here are some of the more commonly-used functions available in Tracker:

• abs(a) will return the absolute value of a
• sqrt(a) will return the square root of a
• exp(a) is the same as e^a
• log(a) will return the natural logarithm of a
• log10(a) will return the logarithm of base 10 of a
• sin(a), cos(a), tan(a) will return the basic trigonometric functions in radians [NOT degrees]
• asin(a), acos(a), atan(a) are the reverse trigonometric functions