Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Lazy UniverseAn Introduction to the Principle of Least Action$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jennifer Coopersmith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198743040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198743040.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 February 2019

D’Alembert’s Principle

D’Alembert’s Principle

(p.88) 5 D’Alembert’s Principle
The Lazy Universe

Jennifer Coopersmith

Oxford University Press

It is explained how the mysterious Principle of Virtual Work in statics is extended to the even more mysterious Principle of d’Alembert’s in dynamics. This is achieved by d’Alembert’s far-sighted stratagem: considering a reversed massy acceleration as an inertial force. A worked example is given (the half-Atwood machine or “black box”). Some counter-intuitive aspects are made intuitive by more examples: the Pluto-Charon system of orbiting planets; Newton’s and then Mach’s explanation of Newton’s bucket. Also, it is demonstrated that the law of the conservation of energy actually follows from d’Alembert’s Principle. The reader is alerted to the astoundingly fundamental nature of d’Alembert’s Principle. It is the cornerstone of classical, relativistic, and quantum mechanics. As Lanczos writes: “All the different principles of mechanics are merely mathematically different formulations of d’Alembert’s Principle”.

Keywords:   d’Alembert’s Principle, dynamics, inertial force, Newton’s bucket, Mach, Pluto and Charon, black box, conservation of energy

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .