# What IS potential energy?

1. Apr 9, 2012

### henpen

If
Work= $\int$Fdx
and
Potential Energy, U= -$\int$Fdx

What is Work in terms of potential (and potential and kinetic) energy?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_energy#Overview and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_energy#Potential_energy don't seem to agree on this. It seems odd that as work and potential energy seem so similar that W= -$\Delta$U

Also, why does Work= $\int$Fdx mean that, for a conservative force, F=grad(W)?