The discipline has its roots in ancient Greece where Aristotle studied the way bodies behaved when they were thrown through the air (e.g. a stone). However it was Galileo, Kepler and especially Newton who laid the foundations for much of the so-called Newtonian mechanics we know today.
A person working in the discipline is known as a mechanician.
Significance[change | change source]
Mechanics is the original discipline of physics, dealing with the macroscopic world that humans perceive. It is therefore a huge body of knowledge about the natural world. Mechanics encompasses the movement of all matter in the universe under the four forces: gravity, the strong and weak interactions, and the electromagnetic interaction.
Mechanics also constitutes a central part of technology.
Some aspects of classical mechanics[change | change source]
- Astrodynamics, spacecraft navigation, orbital eccentricity, etc.
- Solid mechanics, elasticity, the properties of (semi-)rigid bodies
- Acoustics, sound in solids, fluids, etc.
- Hydraulics, fluids in equilibrium
- Applied / Engineering mechanics
- Statistical mechanics, large assemblies of particles
- Relativistic or Einsteinian mechanics, universal gravitation
Newton[change | change source]
Newton proposed three laws of motion.
- An object will stay at a constant speed unless a force acts on it.
- F= Ma: the overall force acting on an object = the mass of the object multiplied by the object's acceleration.
- For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.
Quantum mechanics[change | change source]
The following are categorized as being part of Quantum mechanics:
- Particle physics, the motion, structure, and reactions of particles
- Nuclear physics, the motion, structure, and reactions of nuclei
- Condensed matter physics, quantum gases, solids, liquids, etc.
- Quantum statistical mechanics, large assemblies of particles