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What is the meaning of the term 'object'?

  1. Dec 8, 2015 #1
    I will preface my question with the fact that I am a high school student with only a general knowledge of physics, though I have learned about a variety of phenomena at the limited level of depth that I am capable of. I am curious about several concepts and observed phenomena that are fundamentally important to our understanding of the universe, but seem to be nebulously defined. A rather important term among these is 'object'. I have seen this term used to explain other concepts, like matter "Matter is the amount of mass that an object has', mass "Mass is the amount of resistance to acceleration an object has", etc. So to really understand those and other concepts, the idea of the object must be understood. Could I have some assistance in reaching an understanding of this term?
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  3. Dec 8, 2015 #2


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    "Object" in physics has pretty much the same meaning as in everyday language -- "object" is rarely used in a technical sense, which is why it doesn't have a firm technical definition. (Unless you're talking about optics, but that's something else).

    My mug is an object, my pen is an object, I'm an object, the Earth is an object. The sun is an object.
  4. Dec 9, 2015 #3


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  5. Dec 9, 2015 #4


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    I have never seen that first definition before, and I do not think that it is correct.

    For the second and other similar definitions, I think that a better word, in most cases in physics, is "system". The nice thing about "systems" is that you are free to define them in any manner most convenient for the problem.

    For example, if you were doing a pendulum problem and wanted to know the acceleration of the pendulum then you would consider the Bob to be your system, but if you were considering the same physical scenario and wanted to know the tension halfway up the rod, then you would consider the system to be the Bob and half of the rod.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
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