## Is potential energy real or fictious..?

Is body at higher altitude having more potential energy than a body on earth real.? Does this mean a person at 400th floor has more capacity to do work than a person on ground floor(concerning precisely)
Or is concept of potential energy just introduced to satisfy law of conservation of energy..If potential energy really exists,can a person with higher potential be more heavier than other ( considering in a high gravity field) by E=mc2
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 Quote by aditya23456 Or is concept of potential energy just introduced to satisfy law of conservation of energy.
Not just potential energy. The whole point of the concept of energy in general is to have a conserved quantity.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Potential energy is real in the sense that an object falling from 10 feet has the ability to perform more work on a system than an object falling from 5 feet. If we actual perform such an experiment we will find that the higher the object is dropped from the more kinetic energy it has, hence we have defined such a concept as "potential energy". And yes, if I were to measure the mass of both you and the Earth, once when you are stationary at 1 million miles above the surface, and one where you are stationary on the Earths surface, the former example would indeed be more massive.

## Is potential energy real or fictious..?

 Quote by aditya23456 Does this mean a person at 400th floor has more capacity to do work than a person on ground floor(concerning precisely)
Of course but it would probably have unfortunate consequences for him if he tried to utilize this extra energy.
Imagine that there is a vertical spring on the ground. The person on the ground floor can jump on the spring and say he will compress the spring a little. Now the person on the 400th floor can jump on the spring and intuitively you know that he will compress it a lot more since there is more force on the impact. Compressing the spring more means doing more work (the distance is greater) so the 400th floor person can do more work just because he is on the 400th floor.

Whether potential energy is real or not depends on your definition of real.

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 Quote by aditya23456 Is body at higher altitude having more potential energy than a body on earth real.? Does this mean a person at 400th floor has more capacity to do work than a person on ground floor(concerning precisely) Or is concept of potential energy just introduced to satisfy law of conservation of energy..If potential energy really exists,can a person with higher potential be more heavier than other ( considering in a high gravity field) by E=mc2
So the office space at the top of high buildings should cost more (increased staff productivity)
But that may not be what you mean.
 Keep in mind potential energy is always used with a reference "ground" level, and when you grab two random objects with different potential energies, you need to be aware of what they are being referenced to. If you cannot reference them to the same ground level, it is almost meaningless to compare their potential energies directly. This is why your question is confusing or misleading, because it seems to want to imply a mixing up of references (you combine the potential energy of height/gravity with human body chemical potential, which are not both referenced to the same energy). If you want to talk about capability to do work of a person at different heights, then the gravity potential energy between the two systems cancels out and you only would consider their chemical energy which should be the same, and so you would conclude that their height has no impact on their ability to do work, unless you mean for them to fall to ground level.

 Quote by aditya23456 Does this mean a person at 400th floor has more capacity to do work than a person on ground floor
No, but if they jump out the window, gravity has more of an opportunity to do work on the person on the 400th floor, as seen by the final speeds that they acquire just before they hit the ground.

(Check on the sign: gravitational force is downward, displacement is downward, force is in the same direction as the displacement, therefore work has a positive sign, therefore the object gains kinetic energy.)

 Quote by DragonPetter Keep in mind potential energy is always used with a reference "ground" level, and when you grab two random objects with different potential energies, you need to be aware of what they are being referenced to. If you cannot reference them to the same ground level, it is almost meaningless to compare their potential energies directly. This is why your question is confusing or misleading, because it seems to want to imply a mixing up of references (you combine the potential energy of height/gravity with human body chemical potential, which are not both referenced to the same energy). If you want to talk about capability to do work of a person at different heights, then the gravity potential energy between the two systems cancels out and you only would consider their chemical energy which should be the same, and so you would conclude that their height has no impact on their ability to do work, unless you mean for them to fall to ground level.
Wait a person on higher altitude from earth's surface is having more potential energy,then how can gravitational potential energy be same and cancel out.?

 Quote by aditya23456 Wait a person on higher altitude from earth's surface is having more potential energy,then how can gravitational potential energy be same and cancel out.?
Consider someone on the top floor of a 400 floor building, and someone on the ground floor.

If they both have the same human body and are going to push 100kg desks, then they both have the same potential energy to do work on these desks, regardless of their gravitational potential energy with respect to each other. The way you asked your original question about their capacity to do work while being at different heights, and your implication that you wonder if potential energy is not real lead me to think that your contention is that the increase in gravitational potential energy gives the person a higher absolute potential energy with respect to the objects that they might do work on, as in your example objects on the same floor as the person. If that were true, which it isn't, then it would make sense for you to question if potential energy is not real since this is not what we experience.

Just because one person has a higher gravitational potential energy does not mean that that potential energy is relevant when you compare two people's ability to do work. When you talk about their capacity to do work, such as pushing a desk, you are using 2 different potential energy references for the two cases, and so it does not make sense to say a person on a higher floor has more potential energy when any work they do on that floor will be at the same gravitational potential energy, and thus cancel out when compared to someone on a different floor in the building.
 my definition of reality is - anything which can physical effect and be the source of a cause which can be observed.. So since all of them say its immaterial abt being in 400th or ground floor..so can potential energy concept be fictious which is introduced just to make conservation of energy possible.

 Quote by Drakkith And yes, if I were to measure the mass of both you and the Earth, once when you are stationary at 1 million miles above the surface, and one where you are stationary on the Earths surface, the former example would indeed be more massive.
I don't buy this. If you separate two objects you must do work, but the energy goes into the gravitational field, not the mass of the objects. Now you can argue that the field has "mass", which it does in some sense I suppose, but if I push on an object at the surface of the earth or at 1 million miles away, it should respond in the same way, it hasn't gained any more inertial mass.

 So since all of them say its immaterial abt being in 400th or ground floor..so can potential energy concept be fictious which is introduced just to make conservation of energy possible.
Nobody said it was immaterial. It just won't effect your ability to push a desk across the floor. But the person on the 400th floor can do significantly more work by pushing the desk out the window. Reread what dragonpetter wrote.
Potential energy is equally as real as forces, kinetic energy, your age, time, and anything else that we use numbers to represent.

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 Quote by dipole I don't buy this. If you separate two objects you must do work, but the energy goes into the gravitational field, not the mass of the objects. Now you can argue that the field has "mass", which it does in some sense I suppose, but if I push on an object at the surface of the earth or at 1 million miles away, it should respond in the same way, it hasn't gained any more inertial mass.
I believe you would have to measure the mass of the Earth and the object together as a system.

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 Quote by aditya23456 my definition of reality is - anything which can physical effect and be the source of a cause which can be observed.. So since all of them say its immaterial abt being in 400th or ground floor..so can potential energy concept be fictious which is introduced just to make conservation of energy possible.
Arguing what is "real" and what isn't is fairly pointless. EVERYTHING is a concept in some way. Does an electron "really" exist? We can interact with something that causes our instruments to record a certain mass, charge, spin, etc. But who is to say that is "really" an electron, or that it "really" exists and isn't just an effect by some unknown "thing" making us believe it is an electron.

The fact is that potential energy is a real concept that has a specific definition as used by science. This is no different than energy. Energy is also an abstract quantity. It isn't something "real" by your definition. You cannot feel it, see it, etc. You only feel the effects of a force applied by something. When we do the math we find out that it is convenient to define a concept describing the potential ability of a system to have an effect on another system based on their current states. Energy is our concept. It represents the amount of change that one system can cause on another.
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 Quote by aditya23456 .so can potential energy concept be fictious which is introduced just to make conservation of energy possible.
All forms of energy are introduced just to make conservation of energy possible. The is no other purpose to the whole concept of energy, than to have a conserved quantity.

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