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Newtonian Mechanics

~ . Further

1. Given V (x, y, z) is scalar function, write explicitly the components of ∇V

expand the following ∇.~ ∇V

~ .

2. Prove that

∇2 F~ = ∇.

~ ∇~ F~ = ∇(

~ ∇.

~ F~ ) − ∇

~ × (∇

~ × F~ )

3. Show that if F~ = −∇V

~ , then

~ × F~ = 0.

∇

4. Suppose a material point of mass m is falling along a radial line towards the centre

of the earth. The radial distance to the material point from the centre of the earth is

denoted by r. If u is the velocity of the particle at a distance r0 and v is its velocity

at a distance r, show that

1 1

u2 − v 2 = 2GM ( − )

r0 r

where G is the gravitational constant and M is the mass of the earth.

Furthermore, if the particle is dropped from r0 = ∞, show that the distance S at which

it acquires a velocity c, velocity of light, is given by

2GM

S=

c2

which is known as the Schwarzchild radius and plays an important role in the General

Theory of Relativity.

5. A particle thrown up vertically from the surface of the earth with an velocity u just

about escapes the gravitational attraction of the earth. This is called the escape

velocity. Show that the escape velocity is given by

p

u = 2gR

where g is the acceleration due to gravity and R is the radius of the earth.

6. An artificial satellite which has the same period as that of the earth’s rotation is called

a synchronous satellite. If its orbit lies on the equatorial plane of the earth it is a

geo-stationary satellite. Find the distance r above the surface of the earth at which a

satellite should be placed for it to remain stationary.

7. Consider a hypothetical tunnel driven across the length of a chord connecting two

points on the surface of the earth. Show that a particle of mass m dropped in the

tunnel experiences harmonic motion and calculate the period of motion.

1

8. A pendulum is suspended from the roof of an advancing carriage having an acceleration

a. Show that the angle θ made by the pendulum with respect to the downward vertical

during acceleration is given by

a = g tan θ

where g is the acceleration due to gravity.

9. The olympic record for 100m dash is 9.58 seconds (set by whom?). Assume it takes

about 10 seconds for 100m dash for an average olympic athlete. Suppose the same

person were to perform long jump, what is the maximum distance of the long jump.

How does it compare with the olympic record for long jump?

10. Galileo was one of the first to attempt an explanation of the ocean tides. He attributed

tides entirely to movement of Earth around the Sun. But it was Kepler who correctly

attributed tides to the periodic motion of Moon around the Earth. Neither had the

full theory to explain the tides until Newton proposed his law of gravitation. Newton

in fact published his explanation of tides in his book Principia. What are oceanic tides

and how did Newton solve it?

11. This is called Newton’s hard problem: Actually it is not hard if you think carefully.

Try to calculate the gravitational force due to a uniform spherical shell of matter. Show

that (1) Inside the shell there is no force, (2) Outside the shell the force is as if the

total mass is concentrated at the centre (This question is Optional).

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