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Mechanistic Images in Geometric FormHeinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics'$
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Jesper Lützen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567370.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form


Oxford University Press

When Heinrich Hertz's Die Prinzipien der Mechanik in neuem Zusammenhange Dargestellt (Principles of Mechanics) was published in 1894 it was received as an important contribution not only to mechanics but to physics as a whole. Many physicists and mathematicians did not agree with its agenda but everybody seems to have understood it. Modern readers, on the other hand, are often puzzled by its unfamiliar aim and by its content and methods. The present book shows how Hertz's Mechanics fits naturally into the mechanistic world view of the late 19th century and analyses its general architecture as well as its elements. The book discusses the principle of mechanics before Hertz, mechanisation of physics, problematisation of the concept of force, images of nature and mechanics, time, space, mass, Hertz's geometry of systems of points, and vector quantities and their components.

Keywords:   Heinrich Hertz, mechanics, physics, force, images, time, space, mass, geometry, vector quantities

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