We relate Gaussian curvature to the gyroscopic force, thus giving a mechanical interpretation of the former and a geometrical interpretation of the latter. We do so by considering the motion of a spinning disk constrained to be tangent to a curved surface. It is shown that the spin gives rise to a force on the disk that is equal to the magnetic force on a point charge moving in a magnetic field normal to the surface, of magnitude equal to the Gaussian curvature, and of charge equal to the disk's axial spin. In a special case, this demonstrates that the precession of Lagrange's top is due to the curvature of a sphere determined by the parameters of the top.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Mathematics