# ch14 - The Big Ideas-Chapter 14(Serway and Beichner Physics...

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The Big Ideas—Chapter 14 (Serway and Beichner, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 5 th Edition) AJM:1/12/01 1 Sections 1&2 Every particle in the universe attracts every other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. By Newton’s third law, each particle exerts the same force on the other—a result that you will notice is built into the formula due to the symmetrical treatment of both particles. To say that the force is “attractive” is to say that the force on either particle is toward the other. It can be shown that spherically symmetric objects also obey this law where r is the distance between their centers (and must be greater than the sum of the two diameters.) Since every part of a small , but non spherically symmetric object is about the same distance from the center of a large spherically symmetric object (like Earth), the force between them is also given by the same law. In this case r is the distance between the center of the large spherically symmetric object and any part of the small object. (The point is that you’ll get essentially the same r in any event.) The proportionality constant G in the law of universal gravitation can only be determined by measuring the gravitational force between two known masses.

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