Why is Potential Energy So Hard to Understand?

Henk writes:

Glenn, thanks for your answers. I read the introduction to physics at high school over here that my granddaughter has to read. The concept energy (potential energy) is used as a basic principle of physics. It is hard to grasp for a teenage girl!


Thanks again for your comments. Glad to switch from kinetic to potential energy…

Potential Energy

The potential energy concept is particularly difficult for students only because of the missing microcosms common to modern physics. An object on a table in a “gravitational field,” for example, has “potential energy.” That is, if one were to give it the slightest shove, it would fall to the floor, with its “energy” appearing as “kinetic energy” (or the “energy of motion,” as the man says). The mainstream explanation for this is mysterious only because the gravitational field of Einstein and his followers is “immaterial,” it contains nothing at all to cause this strange behavior. In neomechanics, however, the object “falls” to the floor only because it is pushed there by aether particles, which exist everywhere. As Steve and I theorized in our last book ("Universal Cycle Theory: Neomechanics of the Hierarchically Infinite Universe"), aether pressure is a function of distance from ordinary matter. The table provides the resistance that temporarily blocks the motion of the object toward the floor. This analysis shows the beauty of univironmental determinism (What happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter within and without) as opposed to the mainstream’s “systems philosophy,” which tends to neglect important portions of the macrocosm. In this case, the aether has received short shrift. Einstein’s “curved empty space” is no help despite its popularity among indeterminists, who tend to believe in extra dimensions that they cannot see instead of the aether they cannot see.

Another example of the potential energy concept concerns the air molecules that exist in a balloon. The air molecules, which were in motion all along, are free to leave the balloon when it is punctured with a sharp object. Similarly, the aether particles responsible for gravitation are always impacting the object on the table. You only see their effect when you remove the blockage caused by the table. In the most fundamental sense, all microcosms in the infinite universe may be “blocked” or complexed by other microcosms. When their motion is thus confined within a limited space, it may be considered “potential” motion; when the confinement diminishes, it may be considered “kinetic” motion. Thus, because all microcosms in the universe are always in motion, the distinction between potential energy and kinetic energy is dependent on location. For instance, the water in a reservoir is considered to have potential energy, which, when released, is considered to have the kinetic energy of falling water that can turn a water wheel or turbine.


Anonymous said...

I like this view of confined or blocked until a system gains uniformity very much but can you please explain in terms in electrical potential i find it so hard to understand even after trying .is it because of electrons tendency to move when confined in a certain highly capable region or what i dont understand please help.

Glenn Borchardt said...

Thanks for the question. You are getting close. Electrical potential is really no different from any other kind of potential. Look at it this way. A horse in a small pen has a lot of potential to display kinetic energy when the gate is opened. Electrons behave similarly. Like the air molecules in the balloon, they are always in motion, but do not exhibit what we like to call “kinetic motion” until we open the gate. Once the circuit is completed current begins to flow, producing the motions that yield light, and drive motors and heaters, etc.