Mechanics as a separate scholarly discipline is usually considered to have been founded by Galilei (1564–1642), specifically with his Discorsi (1638), which contain the inertial law (now generally referred to as Newton’s first law). Laws of mechanics are statements about a wide range of experimental observations. Prior to Newton’s (1643–1727) time, many independent and sometimes contrary statements were made in regard to the motion of bodies. Newton (1687), in effect, laid the foundations of present-day mechanics in his three celebrated laws. These laws, based upon the concepts of mass, length and time, aim at relating the motion of a body to the forces acting on the body, at each instant of time. Thus these laws express cause (force) and effect (motion) relationships, at each instant of time, and since these relationships are vectorial in nature, this approach is often referred to as vectorial mechanics.
KeywordsPotential Energy Constraint Equation Inertial Frame Virtual Work Linear Momentum
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