You are on page 1of 3

the gravitational force on the outer shell. G is the gravitational constant.

Therefore the potential energy of the outer shell in the field of all shells wit
h s < r
is equal to
and the potential energy of the whole star is
Thus E
pot
d
d
nintegratiopartialby
0
1
2
1
2
2
.
is determined by M
R
d
2
and R but also by the mass distribution M
0
2
within the
star. I believe that Helmholtz may have considered as homogeneous, equal to
3
4/3
Rp
. In that case the calculation is very easy and one obtains
3
5
2
M
EG
. We calculate this value with G = 6.6710
pot
R
-11
m
kg s
for the solar
mass M = 210
30
kg and for the two cases when the sun has its present radius R =
0.710
9
m and when it has the radius R = 15010
9
m of the earths orbit. The
difference is E
pot
= 22.76 10
40
J and, if we suppose that this energy is radiated off
at the present rate, see above, we obtain t = 2010
We shall recalculate E
pot
6
3
2
r
years for the time needed for
under a less sweeping assumption in Insert 7.6.
Insert 2.2
Helmholtz remained active until the last years of his life, and he took full
advantage of what Clausius was to do. Later on in Chap. 5 we shall
mention his concept of the free energy Helmholtz free energy in English
speaking countries in connection with chemical reactions.
Electro-magnetic Energy
It was not easy for a person to be a conscientious physicist in the midnineteent
h
century. He had to grapple with the ether or, actually, with up to
four
types of ether, one each for the transmission of gravitation, magnetism,
electricity
and light. The ether or ethers did not seem to affect the
motion
of planets,
52
so that matter moved through the ether without any

52
M
R
R
R
the contraction. That is indeed close to the time given by Helmholtz.
Actually Isaac Newton (16421727) conceived of a viscous interaction between the
ether
and the moon, and that idea led him to study shear flows in fluids. Thus he disc
overed
Newtons law of friction by which the shear stress in the fluid and the shear rate
are
proportional, with the viscosity as the factor of proportionality. Fluids that s
atisfy this law