Wannabe Vector

26 Vector Snobbery

Work is a scalar quantity that is often mistaken by students to be a vector quantity.

While it is true that work done on an object depends on the direction of the force (a vector) with respect to the displacement (also a vector) (W=FΔscosθ), work itself is a scalar quantity. Positive work done on an object implies an increase in the object’s energy. Negative work done implies a decrease. The plus and negative sign convention for work clearly does not imply any spatial direction.

In this comic, work is acting snobbish because he mistakenly thinks he belongs to a higher class than mass, area and time. Haha.