# Potential Energy Principle

1. Dec 14, 2014

### phy301114

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
how to prove the potential energy principle?

how do you make sense of the potential energy principle ie -dU/dX = F(x). What does the principle really mean?

2. Relevant equations
-dU/dX = F(x)
where U is the potential energy and F the force.

3. The attempt at a solution
Not sure where to even start

2. Dec 14, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

You can use that formula as definition for potential energy, then there is nothing to prove.

What is the exact problem statement?

3. Dec 14, 2014

### phy301114

The problem statement is to derive dU/dX = - F(x) , where U is the potential energy and F the force.

Can give an analogy for the equation?

4. Dec 14, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

How did you define potential energy (and force) in your course?

5. Dec 15, 2014

### phy301114

I am not taking any physics courses now. I asked the question for my general understanding as I came across that equation dU/dX = - F(x) somewhere. I'd like to know how it gets derived. And any examples you all can give to help visualise the principle. Thanks

6. Dec 15, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

Usually U is defined that way. You cannot "prove" a definition.