Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_246

Related Terms


Mechanics is an area of physics that studies the motions of material objects. Classical mechanics is the part of mechanics that does not deal with theory of relativity and quantum theory. Although classical mechanics does not describe reality adequately for very large speeds or very small distances, it is an active area of physics, with important recent developments and innumerable practical applications. Moreover, ideas that were first introduced within the framework of classical mechanics turned out to be very fruitful in many other areas of physics and in mathematics. The next sections will focus on the discussion of some of the important concepts of classical mechanics, presenting them in the chronological order of their historical introduction. A detailed account of the history of classical mechanics until the 1950s could be found in the monograph (Dugas 1955).

Pre-Newtonian Physics

The roots of classical mechanics are in antiquity....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0807658.


  1. Arnold, V. I., Kozlov, V. V., & Neishtadt, A. I. (2006). Mathematical aspects of classical and celestial mechanics (3rd ed.). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Aubin, D., & Dahan Dalmedico, A. (2002). Writing the history of dynamical systems and chaos: Longue durée and revolution, disciplines and cultures. Historia Mathematica, 29, 273–339.Google Scholar
  3. Borchert, D.M. (Ed.). (2006). Encyclopedia of philosophy (2nd ed.). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 10 volumes. See the articles Conservation principle (G. Belot), Determinism and indeterminism (R. Bishop), Time in physics (C. Callender), Energy (M. Jammer), Force (M. Jammer), Mass (M. Jammer), Philosophy of classical mechanics (M. Lange), Space (J. Smart), Time (J. Smart), Chaos theory (M. Strevens), Matter (S. Toulmin).Google Scholar
  4. Chandrasekhar, S. (1995). Newton’s ‘Principia’ for the common reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dugas, R. (1955). A history of mechanics. New York: Central Book Co (Reprinted by Dover, 1988).Google Scholar
  6. Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos: Making a new science. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA