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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on mechanics in the eighteenth century. The publication in 1687 of Isaac Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy has long been regarded as the event that ushered in the modern period in mathematical physics. The success and scope of the Principia heralded the arrival of mechanics as the model for the mathematical investigation of nature. This subject would be at the cutting edge of science for the next two centuries. This article first provides an overview of the fundamental principles and theorems of mechanics, including the principles of inertia and relativity, before discussing the dynamics of rigid bodies. It also considers the formulation of mechanics by Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert and Joseph-Louis Lagrange, the statics and dynamics of elastic bodies, and the mechanics of fluids. Finally, it describes major developments in celestial mechanics.

Keywords: mechanics, Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, mathematical physics, rigid bodies, Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, elastic bodies, fluids, celestial mechanics

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