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Re: g

I have taken to telling my students to "watch their language" when they use
such phrases. Little g is more properly called the local gravitational
constant, and it has a value of 9.8 N/kg, not 9.8m/s^2.

Would it work to refer to g as gravitational field strength? Computing
gravitational force as mg seems exactly analogous to computing electrical
force as qE.
Stanley J. McCaslin

It is and there is a great deal to be said for introducing the field
concept early like this. But it is only 9.8 N/kg near the Earth and
that opens up a whole new can of frustrations. Call the field gamma
=Gm/r^2 and let g be its value near the Earth and maybe you can avoid
the problem. It does, of course, require you to introduce the
connection between fields and accelerations early rather than
following the traditional kinematics-then-dynamics approach but there
is a lot to be said for that too. It is somewhat more intuitive than
accelerations handed down from God. Also, you've sort of gotten at
the Equivalence principle by this approach and, being a relativity
theorist, this is near and dear to my heart.

Paul J. Camp "The Beauty of the Universe
Assistant Professor of Physics consists not only of unity
Coastal Carolina University in variety but also of
Conway, SC 29526 variety in unity. --Umberto Eco
(803)349-2227 The Name of the Rose
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