Well this is really a silly question. However I am curious to know about this topic.

Concept of each of the quantities discussed in physics have come into existence based on some basic human thoughts. For example if we are talking about force, it might have been termed based on the pull and push concept and then people discussed about it rigorously. Again displacement might have been termed based on our change in position.(I don't know for sure if these were the ways how their concept emerged, presented these just as examples)

Now how did the concept of work emerge? Why did the one who first thought about it formulated work as the dot product of force and the displacement caused by the force?

If we are at the initial stage of learning and understanding the nature we might have thought that standing for a long period of time has drained something from our body. Someone might have termed that imaginary thing as "energy". Again some have termed this as "work". So if we start to think from that scenario we might consider standing for a long period is work. So what did it cause the enthusiast to exclude these type of cases where dot product of force and displacement yields zero while defining "work"?

I am apologising for asking such a wierd and a baseless question. I could not get rid of this question from my mind so thought of asking it here.

*Anyways is there any book regarding the history of physics and math? If there is any kindly suggest some,that would be a great help.

  • $\begingroup$ The one who first thought about it did not call it "work" and did not formulate it as a dot product, integrals of force over length appeared in early discussions of vis viva. "The term work was introduced in 1826 by the French mathematician Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis as "weight lifted through a height", which is based on the use of early steam engines to lift buckets of water out of flooded ore mines", Wikipedia. When Hamilton and Gibbs introduced vectors and vector products everything was routinely converted into that notation. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Mar 31, 2021 at 21:40


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