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potential. Although this is true, we will often choose (and it will be built into some formulas) the
potential to be zero at inﬁnity.
Δ
V
=
Δ
U
q
=

W
q
V
=

W
∞
q
In the equations above we have used the work energy theorem to relate changes in potential
energy to the work done on a particle. In this language, the second equation says that the ‘absolute’
potential is the work required to bring a charged particle in from very far away divided by the
charge of the particle.
It is important to note that the electric potential is a scaler quantity. This is nice because as
we will see later on, the potential is very simply related to the electric ﬁeld. This is nice because
scaler quantities are much easier to work with than vector quantities and hence, we will have an
easy way of calculating the electric ﬁeld.
5.2 Calculating the Potential from the Field
Before we talk about how to calculate the potential directly, lets look at the connections between
the potential and the electric ﬁeld. The relation between the two is rather simple, but it involves
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course PHY 2049 taught by Professor Any during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.
 Spring '08
 Any
 Physics, Energy, Work

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