Newtonian Mechanics

  • Richard K. Cooper
  • Claudio Pellegrini


In this chapter we will briefly review Newtonian mechanics, part of the background we expect the reader to bring to his or her study of this text. The mechanics developed starting in the 17th century by Galileo, Newton, and others is based on the description of the motion of a body in terms of position, velocity, and acceleration. To introduce these quantities we must first choose a reference frame and a unit of length, such as a stick with a well-defined length, which we use to measure distances. We must also have a unit of time and a clock to measure time intervals. The evolution of the units of time and length and how we measure them, from the water clock used by Galileo to study falling bodies (Galilei, 1638), to modern atomic clocks, is an important part of the evolution of physics.


Angular Momentum Harmonic Oscillator Reaction Force Internal Force Inertial Frame 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard K. Cooper
    • 1
  • Claudio Pellegrini
    • 2
  1. 1.Formerly of Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  2. 2.University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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