Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Energy of a system?

  1. Nov 3, 2003 #1
    I was just wondering why a system wants to mininmize its energy? Why a system wants to be stabalized at all?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    A system doesn't WANT to do either. It doesn't WANT anything.

    Systems we can look at tend to be in stable equilibrium for a very good reason: they stay in stable equilibrium- that's the definition of stable equilibrium! A system in a non-equilibrium or unstable equilibrium state will move away from it very rapidly. Again, that's the definition of "non-equilibrium" and "unstable equilibrium". Those systems that "stand still" for us to study are the ones that are in stable equilibrium.

    The fact that stable equilibrium corresponds to minimal energy is due pretty much to the fact that energy is defined so as to make that so.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook