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classical mechanics

n. (context physics English) all of the physical laws of nature that account for the behaviour of the normal world, but break down when dealing with the very small (see quantum mechanics) or the very fast or very heavy (see relativity)

classical mechanics

n. the branch of mechanics based on Newton's laws of motion [syn: Newtonian mechanics]

Classical Mechanics (Goldstein book)

Classical Mechanics is a textbook about classical mechanics written by Herbert Goldstein. The scope of the book is undergraduate and graduate level. Since its first publication in 1950, it has been one of the standard references in its subject around the world.

Before the death of Herbert Goldstein in 2005, a new third edition of the book was released, with the collaboration of Charles P. Poole and John L. Safko. In the third edition, the book covers in great detail Newtonian mechanics and its reformulation analytical mechanics, as well as special relativity and some classical electromagnetism in some detail (including the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations), a brief discussion on general relativity, and chapter on chaos theory and fractals. There is an appendix on group theory.

Classical mechanics

In physics, classical mechanics is one of the two major sub-fields of mechanics, along with quantum mechanics. Classical mechanics is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the influence of a system of forces. The study of the motion of bodies is an ancient one, making classical mechanics one of the oldest and largest subjects in science, engineering and technology. It is also widely known as Newtonian mechanics.

Classical mechanics describes the motion of macroscopic objects, from projectiles to parts of machinery, as well as astronomical objects, such as spacecraft, planets, stars, and galaxies. Within classical mechanics are fields of study that describe the behavior of solids, liquids and gases and other specific sub-topics. Classical mechanics also provides extremely accurate results as long as the domain of study is restricted to large objects and the speeds involved do not approach the speed of light. When the objects being examined are sufficiently small, it becomes necessary to introduce the other major sub-field of mechanics, quantum mechanics, which adjusts the laws of physics of macroscopic objects for the atomic nature of matter by including the wave–particle duality of atoms and molecules. When both quantum mechanics and classical mechanics cannot apply, such as at the quantum level with high speeds, quantum field theory (QFT) becomes applicable.

The term classical mechanics was coined in the early 20th century to describe the system of physics begun by Isaac Newton and many contemporary 17th century natural philosophers, and is built upon the earlier astronomical theories of Johannes Kepler, which in turn were based on the precise observations of Tycho Brahe and the studies of terrestrial projectile motion of Galileo. Since these aspects of physics were developed long before the emergence of quantum physics and relativity, some sources exclude Einstein's theory of relativity from this category. However, a number of modern sources do include relativistic mechanics, which in their view represents classical mechanics in its most developed and most accurate form.

The notion of "classical" may be somewhat confusing, insofar as this term usually refers to the era of classical antiquity in European history. While many discoveries within the mathematics of that period are applicable today and of great use, much of the science that emerged then has since been superseded by more accurate models. This in no way detracts from the science of that time because most of modern physics is built directly upon those developments. The emergence of classical mechanics was a decisive stage in the development of science, in the modern sense of the term. Above all, what characterizes it is its insistence that the descriptions of the behavior of bodies be placed on a more exacting basis that could only be provided by a mathematical treatment and its reliance on experiment, rather than speculation. Classical mechanics established the means of predicting in a quantitative manner the behavior of objects, and how to test them by carefully designed measurement. The emerging globally cooperative endeavor increasingly provided for much closer scrutiny and testing, both of theory and experiment. This was, and remains, a key factor in establishing certain knowledge, and in bringing it to the service of society. History shows how closely the health and wealth of a society depends on nurturing this investigative and critical approach.

The earliest development of classical mechanics is often referred to as Newtonian mechanics, and is associated with the physical concepts employed by and the mathematical methods invented by Newton, Leibniz, and others. Later, more abstract and general methods were developed, leading to reformulations of classical mechanics known as Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics. These advances were largely made in the 18th and 19th centuries, and they extend substantially beyond Newton's work, particularly through their use of analytical mechanics.

Classical Mechanics (Kibble and Berkshire book)

Classical Mechanics (5th ed.) is a well-established textbook written by Thomas Walter Bannerman Kibble, FRS, (born 1932) and Frank Berkshire of the Imperial College Mathematics Department. The book provides a thorough coverage of the fundamental principles and techniques of classical mechanics, a long-standing subject which is at the base of all of physics.

Usage examples of "classical mechanics".

The Arrow paradox can be resolved by noting that in the general mathematical treatment of classical mechanics, known as Hamiltonian mechanics after the great (and drunken) Irish mathematician Sir William Rowan Hamilton, the state of a body is given by two quantities, not one.

For example, the dinosaurs may have been exterminated by the impact of an asteroid whose orbit was completely determined by the laws of classical mechanics.

This effect can be explained by means of classical mechanics only on the assumption of hypotheses which have little probability, and which were devised solely for this purponse.

If we take our stand on the ground of classical mechanics, we can satisfy this requirement for our illustration in the following manner.

This parsimony of explanation parallels that of science, which moved from Aristotle's many special cases to general laws, like gravitation and classical mechanics, to explain the seen world.

We shall see later that this result, which expresses the theorem of the addition of velocities employed in classical mechanics, cannot be maintained .