It is often said that “mathematics is the language of physics“. But what does this mean? In this post I’m going to try to explain, by using one of my favourite proofs as an example.
The problem is this:
A ball is placed atop a sphere and released. At what angle to the vertical does the ball lose contact with the sphere?
You would be excused for thinking that the answer is 45° or 90°, but the correct answer is more complicated than that.