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Science of the action of forces on material bodies. It forms a central part of all physical science and engineering. Beginning with Newton's laws of motion in the 17th century, the theory has since been modified and expanded by the theories of quantum mechanics and relativity. Newton's theory of mechanics, known as classical mechanics, accurately represented the effects of forces under all conditions known in his time. It can be divided into statics, the study of equilibrium, and dynamics, the study of motion caused by forces. Though classical mechanics fails on the scale of atoms and molecules, it remains the framework for much of modern science and technology.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mechanics, visit Britannica.com.