May the Forces Be With You

Gravity and the Centrifugal Force


On the other hand, it's not quite right to say that the Mississippi is flowing uphill; in the sense of moving away from the Earth's center that's true, but that's a product of the human division of the force on the water into "gravity" and "centrifugal force." As we discussed earlier, centrifugal force and gravity are closely related, so it makes more sense to consider "downhill" to be the direction that objects move under body forces like gravity, centrifugal force and the like than to divide up the forces, only to add them up again.

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