Chronology Current Month Current Thread Current Date
[Year List] [Month List (current year)] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Prev] [Date Next]

Re: [Phys-l] teaching energy

I just made a quick (5 minute) cursory glance at the reference below; it
appears very interesting, however, I'm bothered a bit by the discussion
of gravitational PE on page 3.

| Please read "Making Work Work" at
| <
<> >

The author makes much of saying saying that we won't say there is a PE
associated with the system of two masses, since we can't locate the
energy in either body. Therefore they conclude that it resides in the
gravitational field.

I fail to see what is wrong with associating PE with the system, the
distance between the objects being the state variable. They mention this
interpretation and then reject it.

I suppose they must do the same thing when it comes to discussing PE of
a system of 2 charges. I.e. the modelers calculate energy in a charge
configuration by integrating E^2 over a volume, rather than by

I have to go to class, now so I can't write more;

Any comments, discussion?

Joel R

Joel Rauber
Department of Physics - SDSU