Energy seems to me to be a very abstract thing, and while it clearly works out very nicely, I don't understand how anyone would have thought to come up with it. Where does the concept of energy find it's roots, and how was it settled down on as a 'useful' quantity as opposed to something else?
1590s, "force of expression," from Middle French énergie (16c.), from Late Latin energia, from Greek energeia "activity, operation," from energos "active, working," from en "at" (see en- (2)) + ergon "work, that which is wrought; business; action" (see urge (v.)).
Used by Aristotle with a sense of "force of expression;" broader meaning of "power" is first recorded in English 1660s. Scientific use is from 1807. Energy crisis first attested 1970.
Huygens (1650's) was the first to develop the terminology, stating that:
- energy is not like matter
- energy does not have size, shape or occupy space
- energy does not have inertia
Instead, it was defined that energy is a measure of the ability of a physical system to perform work