Rohrbach Science

Talks & Publications

Energy is Made Up:

Interesting Conceptual Discussions around Energy and its Definition

Virtual Talk given at the Fall Meeting of the Indiana Section of AAPT in Sept, 2020.


Following the derivation of kinetic and potential energy formulas in the Giancolli textbook, I have been stressing to my students in recent years that energy is a made-up concept, and that–in principle–it is not necessary for building a coherent model of interactions between objects. I discuss how energy is nothing more than a helpful “bookkeeping method” for multi-object systems. This leads to interesting discussions, especially for students who have already taken chemistry.