This textbook is an introduction to and exploration of a number of core topics in the field of applied mechanics. Mechanics, in both its theoretical and applied contexts, is, like all scientific endeavors, a human construct. It reflects the personalities, thoughts, errors, and successes of its creators. We therefore provide some personal information about each of these individuals when their names arise for the first time in this book. This should enable the reader to piece together a cultural-historical picture of the field’s origins and development. This does not mean that we are writing history. Nevertheless, some remarks putting individuals and ideas in context are necessary in order to make clear what we are speaking about – and what we are not speaking about.
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