(a) Suppose we have three masses, m 1 , m 2 , and m 3 , that initially are infinitely far apart from

(a) Suppose we have three masses, m1,
m2, and m3, that initially are infinitely far apart from
each other. Show that the work needed to bring them to the positions shown in
Fig. 8 39 is

(b) Can we say that this formula also gives
the potential energy of the system, or the potential energy of one or two of
the objects? (c) Is W equal to the binding energy of the system that is, equal
to the energy required to separate the components by an infinite distance?
Explain.

FIGURE 8-39