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Archimedes' Law of the Lever

by

Julius Barbanel
Union College

February 9, 2009
4:30 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 in Bailey 204


Abstract:

Anyone who has ever played on a see-saw knows something about the Law of the Lever: Objects balance at distances that are inversely proportional to their weights. So, for example, if you and I are on a see-saw and I weigh twice as much as you, you will have to be twice the distance from the fulcrum as I am if we are to balance. About 2250 years ago, Archimedes began with a few obvious assumptions (such as: If two objects balance and you add additional weight to one object, then the objects no longer balance and the object to which you added weight will go down) and proved the Law of the Lever. It is possibly the earliest use of mathematics to develop a physical theory. We shall present this proof.


For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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