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ERIC Number: EJ1002743
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0031-9120
Newton's Laws: A Very Persistent Consistency
Viennot, Laurence
Physics Education, v47 n5 p595-598 Sep 2012
This note is a response to a recent paper by McClelland (2011 "Phys. Educ." 46 469-471). The situation of a person who is walking horizontally along the ground is examined, and the statement "The person is accelerated by a net force from the Earth" is considered invalid. A key point in McClelland's analysis is his claim that: "The force responsible for acceleration of any real body acts at an identifiable point or region on the body and that region accelerates in the direction of the force. It is absurd to suggest that it would accelerate in the opposite direction". This argument is, indeed, the basis of McClelland's critique of what he calls "a very persistent mistake". This is not a trivial matter, because denying the accelerating role of the force exerted by the Earth on the pedestrian is equivalent to denying the consistency of Newton's laws. In this paper, Viennot shall attempt to make the argument as clear as possible, and to discuss why the consequences of Newtonian mechanics are not, as here, always in agreement with intuition. (Contains 1 figure and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A