Akronos Publishing · Concord, Ontario, Canada · www.aetherometry.com
On the physical concept of 'work'
(or how statues are silent and obliging)
by Correa, Paulo N. & Correa, Alexandra N.
J Aetherom Res, Volume 2, Issue 2 (October 2008), pp. 1-24
Article ID: JAR02-02-01
Price: US $20
We review the basic concepts of work in mechanics and identify the shortcomings of a dogmatic mechanistic interpretation. Macroscopic and microscopic concepts of physical work are differentiated, and the various physical senses of displacement are contrasted. We show how the function for internal work is not reducible to 'pseudowork', and that it is missing a component term to denote
the positive work done by the environment on a system. In nonbiological systems, it is this missing
term that is associated with the replenishing of the internal energy of the system, energy which is
spent, in turn, in counteracting the negative work done - through local gravity, for example - by the
environment on the system. We examine the cases of the weightlifter, the skater and the statue, and
finally present our treatment of the electroscope as a system that performs electric work against gravity and constantly replenishes its internal store of kinetic energy from the local environment.