While studying the motion of a heavy symmetric top, in general, constants of motion are used. Some students may want to understand the motion in terms of torque, which can lie on their routine based on the usage of Newton's second law. However, this is not easy.
In this work, first, we will show the equivalence of torque-angular momentum relation and Euler equations for a heavy symmetric top. Both of these give the description of the motion in terms of torque. Then, we will study some simple motions of a heavy symmetric top in terms of torque, angular momentum, angular velocities and accelerations, which can help students in understanding rigid body rotations and the necessity of considering the motion of a heavy symmetric top in terms of constants. We will also study Perry's historical observational principle on the relation between precession and the rise of the top.
Comments: 17 pages