Evolution of Physics

  • Thread starter cscott
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For each book I read, I have decided to try to explain some of the content more concisely with the sole purpose of getting all the main ideas in my head. Before I keep going I thought I'd share the tiny bit I have done and see what you guys think. If all goes well I'll post it all on my website to keep track of progeress.

RIDDLE OF MOTION

Motion we observe day to day is, in reality, quite intricate and carries many complications. As so, it has remained a fundamental problem for thousands of years. In search of understanding phenomena of motion it is only natural to begin by analyzing the most simple possible cases, and to proceed from there. Thus, Consider a body in which motion is not present. The intuitive idea is that motion is connected with some external influence, say a push or a pull. Experience would further suggest that to move the body with high velocity, requires a stronger influence.

Like for many situations in science, intuition fails, and in the case of motion false ideas which were held for centuries postponed the solution. From Aristotle's Mechanics it is said that:

The moving body comes to a standstill when the force which pushes it along can no longer so act as to push it.

The idea of intuitive conclusions based on immediate observation was abolished by Galileo with one of the most important achievements in human thought. He had brought forth scientific reasoning by use of the scientific method, which marked the real beginning of physics.

We will now examine the fundamental fact of motion more closely. Consider a body given a push. The body will move a short distance and stop. It is possible to lengthen this distance without a stronger push. In the the case of a cart we can oil the wheels. In the case of a book we can smoothen the surfaces. Only external influences have been reduced. The effect of what we call friction has been diminished. It only takes one significant step further to make true progress. Consider a perfectly smooth surface. There would be nothing to slow our body and thus its motion would continue forever. This idealized experiment (one which cannot be achieved in reality), shows the idea that formed the foundation for the mechanics of motion.

[...unfinished]

Book(s): The Evolution of Physics, by Albert Einstein
Please don't be too harsh :rofl:
 

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