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Gravitational Potential Energy

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Posted by Joseph Roser on March 25, 2001 12:02:23 UTC

Let's look at gravitational potential energy from an Einsteinian perspective. Over a short distance a nucleus in an accretion disk around a spinning black hole can be considered to be a particle observer undergoing a centrifugal acceleration just equal to and counter to its free fall geodesic path toward the hole. In this case a freely falling particle will appear to the accelerated nucleus as blueshifted in energy/frequency by (1+gl/c^2). The blueshift portion of the neutrino's energy may now enter into the beta decay reaction when the nucleus and the neutrino interact to produce rest mass in the daughter particles.

From the nucleus' point of view gravitational potential energy has been converted to rest mass - energy conservation is violated. From the free falling oberver's point of view it might be said that the rest mass is derived from the centrifugal acceleration of the nucleus - by the equivalence principle that's the same thing and energy conservation is still violated.

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