Almost every great classical mechanics book has a huge chunk devoted to rigid body dynamics. For example, I'm going through Goldstein right now, and I'm anxious to get to Hamiltonian formalism and canonical transformations, but there's 100+ pages of rigid body dynamics in the way; I'm looking for motivation to study this topic, and maybe others are too.
- What are the applications/analogies of rigid body dynamics to more modern areas of physics?
- Why should the serious physics student be motivated to study rigid body dynamics beyond the surface level of simply understanding angular momentum and torque?
- How does the study of rigid bodies help one better understand the Lagrangian/Hamiltonian formalisms?
- Why is the rigid bodies section usually before the Hamiltonian section in CM books?
- Basically, why should we care about rigid bodies if our interest is in modern physics (statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, condensed matter, etc.)?