Action-Reaction Force Pairs this Week in Physical Science

This week in physical science we will be discussing action-reaction force pairs, so famously summarized by one form of Newton’s Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In physics we describe this it a little more precisely: For every force, there is a corresponding reaction force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. This phenomenon is readily apparent in the “kick” of a firearm, the force one feels when catching a ball, or in the forward push a watercraft receives from a paddle-stroke. It is also what allows a rocket’s engine to provide thrust, even in space where there is seemingly nothing to “push” against.

For 10 points of extra credit, students can turn in the following by Tuesday:

Draw the free body diagram for the bottom textbook in a stack of textbooks resting on a table. Be sure to correctly label all of your forces, but you need not calculate their magnitude. Also include your axis labels.

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