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Energy and the Confused Student I: Work
1.H. Erlichson, “Work and kinetic energy for an automobile coming to a stop,” Am. J. Phys. 45, 769 (Aug. 1977).
2.C. M. Penchina, “Pseudowork-energy principle,” Am. J. Phys. 46, 295–296 (March 1978).
3.B. A. Sherwood, “Pseudowork and real work,” Am. J. Phys. 51, 597–602 (July 1983).
4.A. J. Mallinckrodt and H. S. Leff, “All about work,” Am. J. Phys. 60, 356–365 (April 1992).
5.H. S. Leff and A. J. Mallinckrodt, “Stopping objects with zero external work: Mechanics meets thermodynamics,” Am. J. Phys. 61, 121–127 (Feb. 1993).
6.R. W. Chabay and B. A. Sherwood, “Bringing atoms into first-year physics,” Am. J. Phys. 67, 1045–1050 (Dec. 1999).
7.R. G. Jordan, “Work reworked,” Phys. Teach. 40, 526–527 (Dec. 2002).
8.J. Wetherhold, “Work reworked problem,” letter to the editor, Phys. Teach. 41, 260 (May 2003).
9.R. Mancuso, “Work and potential energy,” letter to the editor, Phys. Teach. 41, 260 (May 2003).
10.R. G. Jordan, “Work reworked, author response,” letter to the editor, Phys. Teach. 41, 260–261 (May 2003).
11.R. Weinstock, “Work reworked—reworked,” letter to the editor, Phys. Teach. 41, 316 (Sept. 2003).
12.C. E. Mungan, “A primer on work-energy relationships for introductory physics,” Phys. Teach. 43, 10–16 (Jan. 2005).
13.As a textbook author myself, I do not specifically identify problematic statements in other authors' textbooks in this series of articles. I do not want this series to appear as a marketing tool but rather as a professional communication that offers a set of suggestions for improving the teaching of energy to our students. I present items from several textbooks in general terms and not as direct quotes.
14.Full solutions to these two problems appear in J. W. Jewett, “Energy and the confused student V: The energy/momentum approach to problems involving rotating and deformable systems,” Phys. Teach., to be published in May 2008.
15.J.W. Jewett, “Energy and the confused student II: Systems,” Phys. Teach., to be published in Feb. 2008.
16.B. A. Sherwood and W. H. Bernard, “Work and heat transfer in the presence of sliding friction,” Am. J. Phys. 52, 1001–1007 (Nov. 1984).
17.R. P. Bauman, “Physics that textbook writers usually get wrong; I. Work” Phys. Teach. 30, 264–269 (May 1992).
18.See, for example, R.A. Serway and J.W. Jewett, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 7th ed. (Brooks/Cole, Belmont CA, 2008), pp. 204–209 or R.A. Serway and J.W. Jewett, Principles of Physics, 4th ed. (Brooks/Cole, Belmont CA, 2006), pp. 173–177.
19.J.W. Jewett, “Energy and the confused student IV: A global approach to energy,” Phys. Teach., to be published in April 2008.
20.This statement assumes that the surface applying the force is nondeformable. In reality, the surface will deform slightly; the ground depresses downward a bit when the boy jumps upward, the stairs or ladder rungs deform a small amount downward when the person climbs upward, the wall bends inward slightly when the girl pushes off or the putty slams into it. In these cases, the direction of the displacement of the point of application of the force is opposite that of the normal force exerted by the surface, so the work done on the boy, person, girl, or putty by the surface has a small negative value.
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