The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Things That Weigh a Newton

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Zeitgeist, Paul W. & Robert F. Neff. Physics: Principles and Problems. New York: Glencoe, 1995: 94. "A medium-sized apple weighs about one newton." apple
Lafferty, Peter & Julian Rowe. The Dictionary of Science. New York: Helicon, 1993: 404. "The weight of a medium size (100 g/3 oz) apple is one newton." apple
Setford, Steve. Science Facts. New York: DK Publishing, 1996: 72. "This apple weighs about 1 N." apple
Hewitt, Paul G. Conceptual Physics. Menlo Park, California: Addison-Wesley, 1987: 33. "The SI unit of force is the Newton (named after guess who?). One Newton is equal to a little less than a quarter of a pound (like the weight of a quarter-pound burger after it is cooked)." hamburger
Kuhn, Karl F. Basic Physics: A Self - Teaching Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley, 1996: 16. "A Newton is about ¼ pound, the weight of a stick of margarine." stick of margarine

Weight is the downward force of gravity exerted on an object by the planet it is located on. The weight, W, of an object can be determined by the formula …


m is the mass of the object
g is the acceleration due to gravity
G is the universal gravitational constant
M is the mass of the planet
r is the distance

Therefore, the formula for the acceleration of gravity is …

The acceleration due to gravity at the Earth's surface is determined to be approximately 9.81 m/s2. However, when the distance r is greater than the radius of the Earth, g is less than 9.81 m/s2 and thus the weight is less. For example, an object on top of a mountain weighs less compared to it being on the surface. Therefore, the weight of an object is variable with location.

The SI unit of weight is the Newton [N = kg·m/s2], named after Sir Isaac Newton for his work on Newtonian mechanics. One Newton on the surface of the Earth is equal to 101.972 grams, 0.224809 lb, or 3.59694 oz. Objects that weigh one Newton on the Earth's surface include a quarter-pound burger, a stick of margarine, and coincidentally a medium size apple given the alleged story of how Newton discovered gravity.

Wai Wing Leung -- 2004

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Richardson, Terry. A Guide to Metrics. Michigan: Prakken Publications, 1978: 66. "A small (100 g) apple requires a force of about one Newton to keep it from falling." an apple
Khounsary, Ali. Newton BBS. University of Chicago. 23 May 2004. "So, anything that weighs about a fifth of a pound (or about 100 g) has a one N weight. Perhaps a small bar of chocolate weighs that much." a small chocolate bar
Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division. State of Minnesota. 7 June 2004.
Restaurant Name Item Name Serving Size
Arby's Chicken Fingers (2) 102 grams
Bruegger's Onion [or salt] Bagel 102 grams
McDonald's Scrambled Eggs (2) 102 grams
2 chicken fingers
1 bagel
2 scrambled eggs

In the United States the Newton unit is least used as a measurement of weight. The Newton is named after the famous scientist Sir Isaac Newton. Besides being a unit of force it was also adopted as a measurement of weight by the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) in 1960. A Newton is the force acting on a 1 kg object that would cause an acceleration of 1 m/s2. In general terms anything that has a mass of 102 grams is said to have a weight of one Newton, because a 0.102 kg object accelerating at 9.81 m/s2 gives you a force of one Newton.

Local grocery stores have many things that weigh one Newton. In the fruit department, one apple or one orange weighs one Newton. In the sweets department a chocolate candy bar weighs one Newton.

While no single currency weighs one Newton, several put together do. One American nickel has a mass of 0.005 kg, so 20 nickels would weigh one Newton. It would take 50 dimes to equal one Newton since each dime weighs 2.268 grams. One American dollar has a weight of 1 gram, which means that 102 one dollar bills would weigh one Newton.

There are many things that weigh one Newton in fast food restaurants. Some examples are an order of chicken fingers from Arby's or an onion bagel from Bruegger's. If you eat scrambled eggs at McDonald's then you are eating one Newton worth of food.

There are countless things in this world that are considered to weigh one Newton.

Felix Orer -- 2004