In physics, classical mechanics and quantum mechanics are the two major sub-fields of mechanics. Classical mechanics is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. The study of the motion of bodies is an ancient one, making classical mechanics one of the oldest and largest subjects in science, engineering and technology.
Classical mechanics describes the motion of macroscopic objects, from projectiles to parts of machinery, as well as astronomical objects, such as spacecraft, planets, stars, and galaxies. Besides this, many specializations within the subject deal with gases, liquids, solids, and other specific sub-topics. Classical mechanics provides extremely accurate results as long as the domain of study is restricted to large objects and the speeds involved do not approach the speed of light. When the objects being dealt with become sufficiently small, it becomes necessary to introduce the other major sub-field of mechanics, quantum mechanics, which reconciles the macroscopic laws of physics with the atomic nature of matter and handles the wave–particle duality of atoms and molecules. However, when both quantum mechanics and classical mechanics cannot apply, such as at the quantum level with many degrees of freedom, quantum field theory (QFT) becomes applicable. QFT deals with small distances and large speeds with many degrees of freedom as well as the possibility of any change in the number of particles throughout the interaction. To deal with large degrees of freedom at the macroscopic level, statistical mechanics becomes valid. Statistical mechanics explores the large number of particles and their interactions as a whole in everyday life. Statistical mechanics is mainly used in thermodynamics. In the case of high velocity objects approaching the speed of light, classical mechanics is enhanced by special relativity. General relativity unifies special relativity with Newton's law of universal gravitation, allowing physicists to handle gravitation at a deeper level.
A physical quantity (or "physical magnitude") is a physical property of a phenomenon, body, or substance, that can be quantified by measurement.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to physics:
Physics – natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.
In physics, net force is the overall force acting on an object. In order to calculate the net force, the body is isolated and interactions with the environment or constraints are introduced as forces and torques forming a free-body diagram.
The net force does not have the same effect on the movement of the object as the original system forces, unless the point of application of the net force and an associated torque are determined so that they form the resultant force and torque. It is always possible to determine the torque associated with a point of application of a net force so that it maintains the movement of the object under the original system of forces.
Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that together laid the foundation for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between a body and the forces acting upon it, and its motion in response to said forces. They have been expressed in several different ways over nearly three centuries, and can be summarized as follows:
The three laws of motion were first compiled by Isaac Newton in his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), first published in 1687. Newton used them to explain and investigate the motion of many physical objects and systems. For example, in the third volume of the text, Newton showed that these laws of motion, combined with his law of universal gravitation, explained Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
In physics, circular motion is a movement of an object along the circumference of a circle or rotation along a circular path. It can be uniform, with constant angular rate of rotation (and constant speed), or non-uniform with a changing rate of rotation. The rotation around a fixed axis of a three-dimensional body involves circular motion of its parts. The equations of motion describe the movement of the center of mass of a body.
Examples of circular motion include: an artificial satellite orbiting the Earth at constant height, a stone which is tied to a rope and is being swung in circles, a car turning through a curve in a race track, an electron moving perpendicular to a uniform magnetic field, and a gear turning inside a mechanism.