Classical mechanics refers to the classical (i.e., non-relativistic, non-quantum) study of physics. Three major formulations of classical mechanics are newtonian mechanics, lagrangian mechanics, and hamiltonian mechanics. The latter two are rather useful in extensions to Classical Mechanics; Special and General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and beyond. Rotational dynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Fluid Mechanics are subsets of Classical Mechanics.

However, the broader term, is often also used for and , as the also use the .

When to Use this Tag

Use when discussing general concepts of classical mechanics, i.e. the behaviour of macroscopic bodies under the influence of forces (without necessarily specifying the origin of these forces).

Use this tag only if , , , , , and the like are too specific. In general, you should not use together with or .


Classical mechanics is the study of the movement of bodies under the influence of forces. In absence of either movement or forces, the subtopics and arise, whereas the ‘complete’ subject is often dubbed dynamics.

For point particles/bodies, there are three equivalent approaches to deriving the trajectories of said bodies: based on Newton’s Laws, based on the variational principle and following from Legendre transformations of Lagrangian mechanics.

More advanced subtopics are for the study of moving many-body fluids (liquids, gases), for the derivation of macroscopic laws from microscopic princples (often making use of the Hamiltonian formalism) and for the study of rotating solid bodies.


  • Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics, by Sussman, Wisdom, Mayer (available as free ebook at MIT press).

  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics by Jewett, and Serway.

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