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ERIC Number: EJ891960
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jan
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Elliptical Orbit [arrow right] 1/r[superscript 2] Force
Prentis, Jeffrey; Fulton, Bryan; Hesse, Carol; Mazzino, Laura
Physics Teacher, v45 n1 p20-25 Jan 2007
Newton's proof of the connection between elliptical orbits and inverse-square forces ranks among the "top ten" calculations in the history of science. This time-honored calculation is a highlight in an upper-level mechanics course. It would be worthwhile if students in introductory physics could prove the relation "elliptical orbit" [arrow right] 1/r[superscript 2] "force" without having to rely on upper-level mathematics. We introduce a simple procedure--Newton's Recipe--that allows students to readily and accurately deduce the algebraic form of force laws from a geometric analysis of orbit shapes.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A