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Galileo's experiment and equivalence principle

  1. May 8, 2012 #1
    Why do we say that Galileo's experiment at Pisa is an illustration of Equivalence Principle?

    All we know is that

    G* (mass of earth)*(gravitational mass of object)/(R^2) = (intertial mass of object)*a

    a=G* (mass of earth)*(gravitational mass of object)/(R^2 * (inertial mass of object))

    The experiment shows that a does not change for different objects.
    But this only guarantees that (gravitational mass of object)/(inertial mass of object)= a constant, which is not necessarily 1.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    We choose the value of G so that that constant is equal to 1. We don't have to - it just makes the math simpler. We could, if we wanted, say that that constant was equal to 2, and use a value of G which was greater by a factor of four to make the calculation match the force that we measure experimentally ... but why bother?
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