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Integrals and potential energy

  1. Feb 22, 2016 #1
    Does the equation
    Accurately describe the potential energy gained by an object falling by 100,000 units?
    I asked my physics teacher and he said he didn't know enough about integrals to answer it.
    I asked my math teacher and she just asked "Are you trying to find the area under that curve?" and I'm not thinking about it graphically so I honestly have no idea what the 'curve' she's talking about is.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2016 #2
  4. Feb 22, 2016 #3


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    I believe m1 should be mass of the earth(or a planet) and m2 should be mass of the object and there should be a '-' sign before the integral.
  5. Feb 22, 2016 #4
    As cnh1995 indicated, it describes the increase in potential energy of an object that is moved r to (r +100000), or the decrease in potential energy of an object moved from (r + 100000) to r.
  6. Feb 22, 2016 #5
    You two are right, I messed up my wording.
    It is indeed, the Potential energy that would be gained by moving from r to (r+100,000)
    or the Kinetic energy gained (Potential energy lost) by falling in the opposite direction
  7. Feb 22, 2016 #6
    Yeah, that's what M1 and M2 mean here, but other than that and how I bungled the wording, it is correct?
  8. Feb 23, 2016 #7
    Yes that's right. It is disappointing that we have come to a situation where someone has the job of teaching physics when they don't understand the basic tools you need to do physics, and someone has the job of teaching mathematics when they don't seem to be able to apply mathematical tools to elementary problems in mechanics.
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