Joule: RRRise and Shine Adabot! It’s time for work!

Adabot: Work?

Joule: Work!

Adabot: Ok!

Adabot: Who are you? – and what are we working on?

Joule: My name is James Prescott Joule - perhaps you’ve heard of me?

Adabot: I think so - aren’t you a scientist?

Joule: Exactly! I’ve spent my entire career studying the way things work.

Adabot: What do you mean by work, exactly?

Joule: So happy you asked! Let’s get working and I’ll explain!

Adabot: umm - ok.

Joule: Long ago I defined work as force multiplied by distance. So if we know how much force is applied over a certain distance, then we can know how much work has been accomplished.

Adabot: Force multiplied by distance?

Joule: Exactly! As I’m sure you know, It takes much more work to lift something up above your head than it does to raise it a few inches off the ground.  And when we measure force multiplied by distance, we do so using a unit of measurement known as the joule.

Adabot: Wait, I thought you were named Joule?

Joule: I am! I named this unit of measurement after myself - it is my life’s work after all.

Adabot: That makes sense.

Joule: Let me give you an example.

Adabot: ok

Joule: To the table!

Adabot: To the table!

Adabot: Ooh - how ‘bout them apples!

Joule: Indeed, Adabot.  So, it takes a force of about 1 Newton to lift this apple. And if I lift this apple 1 meter then I’ve done 1 Joule of work!

Adabot: Ok - but what if you lifted forty apples?

Joule: Forty apples would be forty joules of work!

Adabot: Woah - that’s a lot of work!.

Joule: Indeed.

Adabot: Indeed.

Joule: So if we light this 3 Watt LED for 3 seconds- then we’ve done 9 Joules of work: 3 watts times 3 seconds equals 9 joules.

Now, similarly - If we light this 60 Watt incandescent bulb for one hour, then we’ll have done 216,000 Joules of work. 

Adabot: Woah - that’s a lot of joules!

Joule: Exactly.  So, if you really wanted to save power,you might consider using something like this - a 12 watt LED bulb.

Adabot: Oh - that would be smart move.

Joule: Indeed, Adabot.

Adabot: So, to calculate joules … we multiply force and distance … or power and time.

Joule: Precisely Adabot! 

Joule: So - are you ready to get to work?

Adabot: I think so …

Joule: Good - because we’re scheduled for 5,000 joules of work today.

Adabot: Wait - what?!

Joule: Come on Adabot! Let’s make hay while the sun is shining!

Adabot: Wait - there’s hay now too?!

Joule: It’s just an expression, Adabot - come on!

This guide was first published on Aug 26, 2016. It was last updated on Aug 26, 2016.
This page (Transcript) was last updated on Apr 16, 2020.