Why is it harder to overcome the inertia of a bowling ball than a baseball?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The concept of inertia comes from Newton's 1st Law which states that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. This force can be a push or a pull, either by a person pushing or pulling, gravity pulling down, or friction pulling in the opposite direction of movement. A force is needed to either get an object moving or to stop it from moving.

This then leads us to the concept of inertia, which is simply an object's tendency to resist a change in its motion. It follows then that the more mass an object has, the more it will resist a change in its motion. Here's where your bowling ball and baseball come in. A bowling ball has a mass of about 7 kg, and a baseball has a mass of 0.145 kg. Since the bowling ball has a larger mass, it will resist any change in its motion more, and it has more inertia. The baseball has a much smaller mass, won't resist changes in its motion as much, and has less inertia. 

It may seem like this is too simple, but it's all based on Newton's 1st law of motion. Because the bowling ball has a larger mass, it will be harder to change its motion and overcome its inertia.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team