Is there a more systematic approach to classical mechanics than Newtons second law?

in #stemq2 years ago (edited)

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We have all been there. We were solving some supposedly easy problem where one just had to write out the equations of motion, ie. Newtons second law of motion. It should be simple the teacher said.

But all of a sudden you happen upon a problem. The equation is vectorial in nature so the directions of various forces play a significant role. One missplaced minus will destroy this entire super fun experience.

Is there a more systematic and easier approach to classical mechanics than Newtons second law?

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Exactly. I really enjoyed them in College so I will try to do some fun analytical stuff on seemingly complicated examples.

Followed by Hamiltonian mechanics.

I'm not sure it would qualify as "easier", but it is more "elementary". The question asks about classical mechanics, so the next step that led to quantum mechanics is beyond the scope of the question.

I would say that Lagrangian mechanics made my life a lot easier while studying Physics because you could practically turn off your brain even in very hard multi-object systems, as everything is based on scalars and the minuses and pluses come out right by definition. So I would say it is "easier".

Seems such a long time ago... memory can't push past the haze of quantum mechanics :-)

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