Dynamic Equilibrium

We characterize Newtonian particles as being in some kind of stable balance with their environment. They are presumably interacting with countless photons, and maybe touching other Newtonian particles. But they are probably not exploding, melting, decaying, or doing anything bizarre.

//Tampan//, Paminggir people. Lampung region of Sumatra, 19th century, 77 x 70 cm. Photograph by D Dunlop.
Tampan, Paminggir people. Lampung region of Sumatra, 19th century, 77 x 70 cm. Photograph by D Dunlop.

To be more exact about this notion consider a particle P described by its kinetic energy $K$ and potential energy $\mathcal{U}$. Definition: if the kinetic and potential energies are equal to each other, then

$K = \mathcal{U}$

and we say that P is in dynamic equilibrium. But recall that the potential energy is simply defined by the mechanical energy $E$ less $K \,$. So for a particle in dynamic equilibrium

$E=2K$

and there is an equipartition of mechanical energy between kinetic and potential types.

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Sensory interpretation: As discussed previously, in an ideal reference frame the kinetic energy characterizes the sensory magnitude of visual stimuli whereas the potential energy depends more on thermal perception. So for experiences objectified as particles in dynamic equilibrium, there must be a balanced experience of both thermal and visual sensation. The requirement for eyes-open visual awareness means that, for example, a dream about flying while asleep cannot be called equilibrium conditions. And neither can watching cartoons on TV, because television only reproduces audio-visual sensations. Thermal sensations may be ignored. So conditions of dynamic equilibrium are like experiencing realistic or naturalistic conditions in classrooms and laboratories on Earth. Not so much like animated movies, dreams or hallucinations.
Right.png Next step: characteristics of Newtonian Particles.




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