Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Classical Mechanics

  1. Aug 30, 2010 #1
    I'm a secondary school student as yet, wondering and want to know whether scientists still do researches on Classical Physics, or they have just known everything that they wanted to know about the Newtonian Physics

    In other words, are there still problems in Classical Physics the solutions of which are still unknown?

    Thanks for your interaction
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2010 #2
    Maybe classical chaos is still the frontier.
  4. Aug 31, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    There are lots of unanswered questions in classical mechanics, for example on how, and why, streamlines separates from a curved wall, questions concerning turbulence and much else besides.

    Those two examples are from fluid mechanics, in solid mechanics, heat transport in aggregate compounds is, I believe, still rather intractable.

    So, yes, there is a LOT of research going on in classical mechanics, and always will, since classical mechanics is, and forever will remain, the optimal approximation of physics in the "human-scale" world.
  5. Aug 31, 2010 #4
    How is this a subject of interest in Classical Mechanics ???
  6. Aug 31, 2010 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Hmm..you are right.
    It belongs to classical physics, my bad..
  7. Aug 31, 2010 #6
    Thanks people for your replies.
  8. Aug 31, 2010 #7
    The many-body problem?

    Many equations that can be built don't have an analytical solution. These can be built completely from classical mechanics, but only numerical solutions exist.

    So in general, if there are still analytical solutions that are left to be found for some equations, I suspect they would be of great interest to classical mechanics. I would think that this is mostly in the hands of mathematicians though.
  9. Aug 31, 2010 #8
    The field of Classical Mechanics is complete and closed from a physical point of view. This means that it has a well defined body of phenomena it addresses and all the laws governing these phenomena are known.

    Applying these laws to a particular situation and trying to find an analytical solution, strictly speaking, is a task for Mathematical Physics. Thus, there may be some problems which do not have a solution in a closed form, but this most certainly does not mean that we do not understand the underlying laws governing these phenomena.

    The topic of interest of classical mechanics are systems with finite number of degrees of freedom. The case of systems with (physically) infinite number of degrees of freedom belongs to the field of Continuum Physics. However, the very concept of a continuum is an idealization that is bound to fail at some point.

    There are two limitations of Classical Mechanics: when the speeds of the particles become comparable to the speed of light and when the classical action attains values comparable to the Planck constant.
  10. Aug 31, 2010 #9

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Tons: off the top of my head- glass transition, fracture, turbulence, wetting, systems far from equilibrium.

    There is no satisfactory theory for any of these.
  11. Aug 31, 2010 #10

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If special relativity does not fall under the umbrella of classical mechanics, then surely general relativity is non-classical as well.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook