Liftoff of the space shuttle
The tragic accident of February 1, 2003 that took the lives of all seven astronauts aboard happened just before Volume 1 of this book went to press. The launch and operation of a space shuttle involves many fundamental principles of classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. We study the principles of classical mechanics in Part 1 of this text, and apply these principles to rocket propulsion inChapter 9. (NASA)
hysics, the most fundamental physical science, is concerned with the basicprinciples of the Universe. It is the foundation upon which the other sciences—astronomy, biology, chemistry, and geology—are based. The beauty of physicslies in the simplicity of the fundamental physical theories and in the manner in which just a small number of fundamental concepts, equations, and assumptions can alterand expand our view of the world around us.The study of physics can be divided into six main areas:1.
which is concerned with the motion of objects that are largerelative to atoms and move at speeds much slower than the speed of light;2.
which is a theory describing objects moving at any speed, even speedsapproaching the speed of light;3.
which deals with heat, work, temperature, and the statistical be-havior of systems with large numbers of particles;4.
which is concerned with electricity, magnetism, and electro-magnetic ﬁelds;5.
which is the study of the behavior of light and its interaction with materials;6.
a collection of theories connecting the behavior of matter atthe submicroscopic level to macroscopic observations.The disciplines of mechanics and electromagnetism are basic to all otherbranches of classical physics (developed before 1900) and modern physics(c. 1900–present). The ﬁrst part of this textbook deals with classical mechanics,sometimes referred to as
This is an ap-propriate place to begin an introductory text because many of the basic principlesused to understand mechanical systems can later be used to describe such naturalphenomena as waves and the transfer of energy by heat. Furthermore, the laws ofconservation of energy and momentum introduced in mechanics retain their impor-tance in the fundamental theories of other areas of physics.Today, classical mechanics is of vital importance to students from all disciplines.It is highly successful in describing the motions of different objects, such as planets,rockets, and baseballs. In the ﬁrst part of the text, we shall describe the laws of clas-sical mechanics and examine a wide range of phenomena that can be understoodwith these fundamental ideas.