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January 25, 2016

Chapter 1
Why is maxima of potential
unstable and minimum stable?
1.1

Pendulum

The potential for a pendulum is


= mgl(cos cos 0 )
When I displace it ccw, a restoring torque acts that is equal to mgl sin .
Since no additional torque acts, the net torque is R = mgl sin = ().
For static equilibrium, the net torque should vanish; i.e., the potential is
stationary.