# (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