Let's begin with a few exercises. I'll give you a force, and you must compute the potential energy due to that force.

Do you notice some patterns?
It turns out that some forces -- we call them
**conservative forces** --
have nice properties.

- The work done on you by these forces as you move from point A to point B is independent of the path you take.
- These forces have associated potential energies.
- There are simple connections between each force and its potential energy.

Let's look at conservative forces more closely ....

Now, see if you can use these relationships to compute some gravitational forces, based on a map of potential energy.

Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.