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Questions tagged [classical-mechanics]

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How did people figure out the formula for mechanical work, and related it to energy?

What developments led to the definition of Work as the dot product of Force and Displacement vectors? I did some searching but couldn't find a satisfying answer. According to what I have read, the ...
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2answers
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Was Newton's successful calculation of precession of equinoxes a fluke?

I have looked at several sources, and Newton was right about the fact that the Earth is not a perfect sphere, but an ellipsoid caused the precession of equinoxes, as the Moon's gravitational ...
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How was the term speed treated in the 16 and 17 century?

What do the the people in 16 an 17 century meant by the term speed? Were they having the relation speed=distance/time back then or were they having some other notion for it and this relation came into ...
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1answer
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Who first derived $a =v^2/r$

This is a basic formula in mechanics, which determines the acceleration of a particle performing uniform circular motion. By who first derived it? In Newton's Principa, what one can find is that $$...
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Why couldn’t the Burgess B Clock built in 1974 be built in 1775 by Harrison?

In the Royal Observatory in London they have a mechanical clock called the Burgess B, based on a 200 year old design by Harrison. My question is: Why couldn’t the Burgess B Clock built in 1974 be ...
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When did spring-driven clocks start being used?

On a tour of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich I saw the following display on the history of mechanical clocks: They suggest that mechanical clocks and astronomy weren’t really combined in England ...
2
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1answer
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References about the the development of the concept of mechanical work

I'm looking for references about how the concept of mechanical work ("$\boldsymbol{F}\cdot\mathrm{d}\boldsymbol{r}$") or the concept of mechanical power ("$\boldsymbol{F}\cdot\boldsymbol{v}$") came ...
3
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1answer
183 views

What is the origin of French/Burmester's curves?

French curves are a set of curvilinear rulers used in industrial design, before the advent of CAD, when everything still had to be drawn by hands. The most popular set of such rulers is made up of 3 ...
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99 views

Who assigned the name “work” to the quantity $\int F\,{\rm d}r$?

I am looking into the historical perspective of how the concept of work and energy came about: who coined the terms "mechanical work" and "energy", and how the concept evolved over time. I know that ...
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2answers
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Could scientists of Newton's time have explored the limits of his laws of motion?

As noted on this Wikipedia page Newton's laws of motion and of gravity were "verified by experiment and observation for over 200 years" and found to be a "good approximation for macroscopic objects ...
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1answer
213 views

How did Newton write his equations?

Once, after a lecture, my professor of differential equations said, that Newton did not use derivatives in his work as we do today. He told us that Newton rather used some series expansions for his ...
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Who was the first to use the term field in physics?

Faraday, after drawing his lines of force in 19th century, is normally credited as the first to use the term field in physics. But... ... was not the term field used in the context of gravitational ...
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What is the origin of the term “involution” used in Hamiltonian mechanics

We say that two dynamical variables $f$ and $g$ are in involution if their Poisson bracket vanishes, i.e., $\{f,g\}=0$. Why is it called involution?
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Equation for the conservation of vis viva

How did Christiaan Huygens come across the fact that the quantity $mv^2$ is conserved during motion? I would like to know his thought process and how he derived or proved this result.
2
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1answer
131 views

How could Huygens have solved the tautochrone problem before Newton's theory of gravity and equations of motion?

In this answer to a question of mine on the stackexchange physics site, I learned about the tautochrone problem. Apparently it was solved by Huygens in 1659, which is before Newton's work on mechanics....
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141 views

Which problems led Newton to three laws of motion?

How did Newton come up with the three laws of motion? Are these laws are true of newton, or they are of Galileo.
2
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1answer
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Hellenistic mechanics

In Rene Dugas' History of Mechanics, the author starts off the book with this passage with details with regards to hellenistic mechanics. He comments, and I paraphrase " the author of the apocryphal ...
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History of mechanics

Could anyone please suggest me a good book which explains the history of mechanics clearly in a way that the modern reader can comprehend without knowing a breadth of historical facts? Also a book of ...
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Scalar mechanics

Can someone please suggest me some books which treat and teach Newtonian Mechanics ( Statics and Dynamics ) without the use of vectors? I was wondering how can we carry out the same treatments with a ...
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1answer
172 views

What was Liouville's contribution to Liouville's theorem?

Liouville's theorem asserts that the volume of phase space is incompressible. This was first shown by Gibbs 1903 but his name is mostly forgotten. The Wikipedia article says It is referred to as ...
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4answers
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Why are canonical coordinates canonical?

Canonical coordinates are coordinates $q_i$ and $p_i$ in phase space that are used in the Hamiltonian formalism. The canonical coordinates satisfy the fundamental Poisson bracket relations: \...
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2answers
294 views

Day-to-day tasks of human computers, à la Hidden Figures movie

I was fascinated by the film Hidden Figures, and a related article from New Scientist magazine Gifted and black: The brilliant woman who got the US into space. I'm trying to understand more about ...
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2answers
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How did Newton come up with his formula?

In high school students are taught the formula that describes the universal gravitational force $F=G\frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}$. However it is not taught how and why Newton came up with it. Does Newton give ...
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Who discovered the normal mode decomposition of coupled oscillators?

Coupled oscillators can be broken down into a superposition of normal mode oscillations. Who was the first person to solve for this system in this way?
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1answer
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Did Newton find geodesics on curved surfaces in Principia?

My question reffers to section X of book 1 of Isaac Newton's Principia, that deals with motion of particles on curved surfaces. I read that in proposition 56 Newton found the trajectory of a particle ...
4
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1answer
238 views

Who was first to integrate Newton's equations of motion to derive the conservation laws for mechanical energy and momentum?

I'm wondering who is the first person in the history who came up with an idea to integrate Newton's $F=ma$ to obtain the law of mechanical energy conservation? And When did it happen? Also I have the ...
6
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2answers
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Did Newton find the trajectory of a body moving in uniform gravity under the quadratic resistance law (the ballistic problem)?

I'm very confused by contradicting accounts of a supposed solution by Newton to the problem of finding the trajectory of a projectile moving under uniform gravity against resistance that is ...
6
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2answers
176 views

Who was the first scientist to suggest that objects can keep moving without applied force?

In the old days Aristotels argued that object needs a force to keep going in 'space'. Some philosophers, Philoponus and Buridanus (?), later argued that there was a need for some kind of 'impetus'. ...
6
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1answer
933 views

Did Maxwell invent the Maxwell's wheel?

Tried to find it online, but nothing. Everyone refers to it and that it's named after the famous James Clerk Maxwell (of the Maxwell electromagnetic laws and some other things), but there is no direct ...
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5answers
288 views

Which book gives a thorough understanding on the scientific environment of antiquity?

I have started reading Rene Dugas' History of Mechanics book. I want to understand physics from the spectacle of seeing its intellectual evolution instead of directly jumping into its general theories/...
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3answers
504 views

How did Newton and Kepler (actually) do it?

Today if I want to calculate an elliptical orbit of some object due to the gravity of another, I use Runge-Kutta integration, and I can see the individual steps I use shown in that article. Back "in ...
3
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2answers
288 views

Was “Kepler's third law” deduced from the Galilean moons, or from planetary motion?

I have read that Galileo was able to start observing the four large satellites of Jupiter in 1610. Did he ever attempt to estimate the relative sizes of the four orbits, and their periods? I made a ...
8
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2answers
327 views

Did wave optics anticipate quantum mechanics?

I heard in wave optics and electromagnetism that Hamilton could have discovered the Schrödinger equation, or that he was the first man who used the expression $$ \Psi(x)= \exp(i S(x)/\hbar)\,. $$ I ...
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708 views

What is the history of the energy concept and its measurement?

Could someone please explain how the concept of energy was originally conceived and how it evolved over time to our current understanding of it? Also how did people come about various ways of ...
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1answer
65 views

First mention of modes of vibration in mechanics

I was wondering when eigenmodes (modes of vibration) were first mentioned in mechanics. Any reference would be appreciated. I expect them to date back to the second half of the 19th century because ...
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2answers
276 views

Wireless transmission and speed of light in Weber Electrodynamics

The telegraph model of Weber-Gauss, relying on Weber's electrodynamics, modeled instantaneous action at a distance of the electric scalar potential (Coulomb potential) manifesting as propagation of ...
10
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1answer
356 views

How did gyromagnetic ratio come up before quantum mechanics, and who introduced it?

I am really curious about who was the first one to define the gyromagnetic ratio $\gamma$ of a body, i.e. the ratio of its magnetic dipole momento to its angular momentum. It is a very important ...
3
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1answer
41 views

Clausius regarding energy

Clausius somewhere wrote (in German): ``The energy of the world is constant.'' This is a well known quotation. What is the source, publication, the rest of the paper? [Obviously he was summarizing ...
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492 views

Did Hooke's law come from experiments, or was it mathematically derived from Newtonian mechanics?

Was Hooke's law first coming from experiment or from math derivation of which Newtonian mechanical laws are the only prerequisite? Also can the law itself be reinvented in this way, or is it ...
5
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1answer
402 views

History of the study of indeterminism in classical mechanics

The classic Norton's dome problem, space invaders and other examples, show that Classical Mechanics, held as the paragon of determinism for ages having inspired Laplace's statements on determinism, is ...
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25 views

When does the first vibration meter/tester exist in the earth?

When does the first vibration meter/tester exist in the earth? It was too hard to find the answer in Google in few hours
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1answer
49 views

What is the decade of experimentation that start to verify the formulas from mechanics of vibration? [closed]

What is the decade of experimentation that start to verify the formulas from classical mechanics of vibration? People unable to "see" or "hear" the vibration of the objects in the late 19 century...
4
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1answer
109 views

Looking for a Book Which Discusses the Rigor in Newton's Principia Mathematica

About an year ago, I had seen an article somewhere on the internet which discussed Newton's Principia Mathematica and the rigor (or lack thereof) of the arguments presented. I have forgotten who the ...
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0answers
24 views

Looking for a Book Which Discusses the Standards of Rigor in Newton's Principia [duplicate]

About an year ago, I had seen an article somewhere on the internet which discussed Newton's Principia Mathematica and the rigor (or lack thereof) of the arguments presented. I have forgotten who the ...
3
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1answer
201 views

What did Lagrange do with his quantity (the Lagrangian in classical mechanics)?

When I was learning classical mechanics, I was quite baffled by the Hamilton's principle, since it involves a quantity named after Lagrange. So, it seems that the principle was not discovered by ...
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2answers
519 views

Who came up with the laws of conservation of momentum?

Who came up with the laws of conservation of momentum? I'm more specifically interested in the conservation of angular momentum.
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1k views

What were Newton's six laws of motion?

In The Norton History of the Mathematical sciences, Ivor Grattan-Guinness writes of Newton's Principia, Indeed, in working drafts for the book Newton considered up to six laws, and this trio are ...
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190 views

Reading material suggestion for history of Newton's laws of motion

I intend to review the different concepts related to laws of motion floating around the publication of Principia and hopefully would like to comment on these (It's an essay project). I've gathered ...
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Why is calculus missing from Newton's Principia?

I'm not suggesting that Newton did not discover calculus - the question is written this way to express my surprise that the Principia does not use the methods of calculus (or 'fluxions'). He instead ...
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How did Newton establish the conservation laws in the Principia?

In the contemporary axiomatic description the conservation laws in mechanics are deduced from Noether's Theorem using the homogeneity and isotropy of space and time. How did Newton, if he did, ...