Potential Energy

34 In AP Physics we are starting potential energy curves. I love these because of the connection to quantum mechanics, and because when I was in college taking quantum mechanics I totally didn’t get it. I could look at the classical curve for an oscillating particle and calculate the quantized energy levels, but I don’t recall understanding the connection to classical potential wells. In addition, for a long time I confused the gravity potential well with the curved shape of spacetime due to a massive object. They are NOT the same thing, and not the same mathematical shape! It is amazing how much you learn when you teach.

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