Mechanics - Term Overview

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In physics, the study and analysis of the motion and rest of bodies, as well as their temporal evolution under the action of one or more forces, is known as mechanics. Its name comes from the Latin mechanica, which means "the art of building machines."

Also of interest to mechanics are the dynamics of physical systems, such as electromagnetic fields or particle systems, even though they can't be properly considered bodies.

Like the rest of physics, this discipline borrows its formal language from mathematics to express its contents and, at the same time, lays the foundation for most of the knowledge of classical engineering.

How is mechanics classified?

The mechanics are subdivided into four main content blocks:

  • Classic mechanics: Also known as "Newtonian mechanics" (it is based on the studies of Isaac Newton), it deals with macroscopic bodies that move at small speeds compared to that of light (300,000 km / s).
  • Relativistic mechanics: Its name comes from the famous Theory of Relativity formulated by Albert Einstein, whose studies revolutionized the field of physics. Special Relativity, formulated in 1905, describes the behavior of bodies that move with speeds close to that of light. In 1915 Einstein proposed a new explanation of gravity with what is known as "general relativity", which studies the bodies with masses of the order of planetary masses (or higher) or densities very high, and is based on the principle of that the dimensions of time and space (which in classical mechanics are considered fixed and universal) depend on the motion of the observer and are therefore relative.
  • Quantum mechanics: This branch of physics deals with phenomena involvingfundamental atoms and particles (for example, electrons ). This theory is able to explain all the fundamental interactions of matter, with the exception of the gravitational force. Within quantum mechanics there is relativistic quantum mechanics, which studies the behavior of subatomic particles that move at speeds close to that of light.
  • Quantum field theory: This branch of mechanics is the most recent (first half of the 20th century) and its approach tries to apply the principles of quantum mechanics by treating particles as continuous fields. This theory is very useful, for example, when studying the electromagnetic field and is capable of incorporating the principles of special relativity.

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