In physics, potential energy is the energy of a body or a system due to the position of the body or the arrangement of the particles of the system. The SI unit for measuring work and energy is the Joule (symbol J).

The term "potential energy" was coined by the 19th century Scottish engineer and physicist William Rankine.

Potential energy is closely linked with forces. If the work done moving along a path which starts and ends in the same location is zero, then the force is said to be conservative and it is possible to define a numerical value of potential associated with every point in space. A force field can be re-obtained by taking the negative of the vector gradient of the potential field.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Potential_energy&oldid=492762265

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