Development Of Mechanics: The Contribution Of Merton College.

1852 WordsApr 21, 20178 Pages
Development of Mechanics: The Contribution of Merton College The science behind mechanics can be broken up into two distinct fields of study, kinematics as the first and dynamics the second. The realm of mathematical mechanics while well established in modern times went through several important stages in history before arriving at its current definition. The modern definition of mechanics encompasses both kinematics, the mathematics of motion apart from consideration of mass and force, and dynamics, which deals with forces and their relation to motion. However, it wasn’t until the late Middle Ages that this fundamental distinction first arose to study kinematic problems distinct from any other larger goal or objective. Following this…show more content…
Aristotle brought forth a theorem about the connection between what he defined as the “quicker” and “slower” velocities. Aristotle states three distinct properties of quicker and slower velocities, the “quicker” traverses more space than the “slower”, the “quicker” can traverse more space in less time, and the “quicker” can traverse the same space as the “slower” in less time. (Clagett 178) While these three seem rather redundant to us now when viewing velocities in terms of a formula V = S/T Aristotle had no such inclinations to attempt to define velocity as a ratio of two dislike entities of speed and time but instead insisted on a separation between these two magnitudes and velocity in the modern sense could only be discussed in terms of this “quicker” and “slower.” It would not be until the Mathematicians at Merton that the ability to quantify velocity first began. The first work to stimulate the work done by the mathematicians of Merton College was Thomas Bradwardine’s Tractatus de Proportoinibus (1328). The reason for its importance stems from the fact that the first defined distinction between kinematics and dynamics first appears in this text. In chapter 3 Bradwardine deals with “proportion of velocities in movements in relationship to the forces of the movers and the things moved,” i.e. dynamics, while in chapter 4 “in respect to the

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