Visit for more articles!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Understanding Basic Principles of Physics for a more Efficient Life

Diagram showing a Second Class LeverImage via Wikipedia

In order to fully understand what's going on around us and optimize our lives, I believe that it is essential to have a basic understanding of some principles of physics. Get to know how things really work. Instead of learning by trial and error, if you have some knowledge or understanding of how events might actually turn out, you can probably make better decisions.

I think I see the point.. but what exactly are you talking about? Let's say, for example, you bump into a lamp and it begins to topple over. Your tendency would be to grab it any way you can and save it from crashing to the floor. So you grab the lower portion of the lamp because that is the part that is moving the slowest. (assuming that it is simply falling over by pivoting about a point at the base of the lamp) But the lamp is too heavy and you don't can't generate enough torque in your wrist in time and you only end up lifting the base of the lamp from the table and hurting your wrist in the process.

Had you been able to apply the simple principle of leverage at the moment you took action, you may have realized that a much smaller amount of force would be required to stop the lamp if you tried to catch it by a point further away from the pivot. The image above depicts a "second class lever" which means that essentially the closer you apply force to the pivot point, the more force is required; and the further away you are, the less is required.

There are limitless of scenarios where you can observe the principles of leverage. IE: golf, faucet knobs, eating utensils, your forearm, pushups... etc.

There is enough information on Levers and Leverage out there, that I don't need to get into an entire lesson, I just want to make you aware of how knowing and applying these principles can benefit your life. Do some research on your own at the links below.

This one is a white paper on leverage as it applies to biomechanics:

Let me know if this makes sense; was it helpful? Is there a situation you can think of where you may have used physical leverage to your benefit in everyday life and not realized it? Is there a situation where, looking back, you could have used leverage to your advantage, and didn't?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! Don't forget to bookmark this page so you can come back again and share your thoughts.