## Quick Reference

A force or field of force is conservative if the work done by the force as the point of application moves around any closed path is zero. It follows that for a conservative force the work done as the point of application moves from one point to another does not depend on the path taken. For example, the uniform gravitational force, the tension in a spring satisfying Hooke's law, and the gravitational force given by the inverse square law of gravitation are conservative forces. Only for a conservative force can potential energy be defined.

*Subjects:*
Mathematics.