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Nuclear Binding Energy

  1. May 7, 2007 #1
    We know that induvidual nucleons are heavier than the nucleus. So Nucleons
    should have more gravitational potential energy with respect to the rest of the universe than the nucleus. Doesn't this violate the law of conservation of energy ?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2007 #2
    I'm not an expert in this, but I think that an approximate answer is that the negative nuclear binding energy sort of has "negative weight" and therefore has negative gravitational potential energy WRT the rest of the universe. That makes up for the difference.

    I also think that the answer is weirder (and more complete) in general relativity, which I don't understand. I hope one of the real physicists answers this soon, I'm interested.
  4. May 9, 2007 #3

    Claude Bile

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    OP - I'm not following your reasoning here, why would heavier particle having more gravitational PE violate the law of conservation of energy?

  5. May 10, 2007 #4
    No it does not because the binding energy is negative in value !

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