In looking back on the history of the development of particle mechanics to its present state of near perfection one can hardly fail to notice that, rather than having evolved in a steady progression, bursts of exciting activity were preceded by more or less barren periods. For instance, few important discoveries in mechanics were made between the lifetimes of Aristotle and Archimedes on the one hand, and those of Kepler and Galileo on the other. However, Galileo’s epochal recognition of the importance of acceleration initiated one of the most fruitful periods of discovery, brought to a temporary conclusion in Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (1687). The theory of particle mechanics which was, in a sense, concluded by Newton is what we call today Newtonian particle mechanics. It comprises that method of dynamical analysis in which the fundamental problem of particle mechanics is formulated by means of Newton’s second law, i.e., by the Newtonian equations of motion.


Virtual Displacement Fruitful Period Particle Mechanic Axiomatic Foundation Axiomatic Method 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhardt M. Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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