What developments led to the definition of Work as dot product of Force and Displacement vectors?

I did some searching but couldn't find a satisfying answer. Acc to what I have read the initial concept of work was associated with measuring work by horses. How did it get associated with energy. Another common answer I got was that "work indicates a transfer of a quantity that happens to be conserved in closed systems just like momentum". I see what that means but how can anyone ,possibly, come up with a formula as W=F.S from that (or anything else?) .

Also, did conservation of mv^2 in elastic collisions led to development of work formula and modern concept of energy.

Pls help.Thanks

  • See Agamenon Oliveira, A History of the Work Concept : From Physics to Economics, Springer (2014) – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Nov 25 at 20:17
  • Could you pls summarize (if you have read it )what is written in it ? In my country it costs around 120$. – user194517 Nov 26 at 6:00
  • 1
    The problem you have is more general than the work formula. Historically, nobody "comes up" with such definitions, so an answer in the form you are expecting does not exist at all. There is an intuitive notion, theory is developed around it, eventually it is prettified into a slick form by textbook authors, and derived formulas are turned into definitions for convenience of exposition. The dot product definition does not appear until modern textbooks, so history can not help you with "coming up" with it. What you want is "motivation", and most textbooks provide that. – Conifold Nov 27 at 1:19

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.