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{{About|inertia in physics}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{More citations needed|date=August 2014}}{{Classical mechanics|cTopic=Fundamental concepts}}Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its velocity. This includes changes to the object's speed, or direction of motion. An aspect of this property is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at a constant speed, when no forces act upon them.Inertia comes from the Latin word, iners, meaning idle, sluggish. Inertia is one of the primary manifestations of mass, which is a quantitative property of physical systems. Isaac Newton defined inertia as his first law in his PhilosophiÃ¦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which states:}}In common usage, the term "inertia" may refer to an object's "amount of resistance to change in velocity" or for simpler terms, "resistance to a change in motion" (which is quantified by its mass), or sometimes to its momentum, depending on the context. The term "inertia" is more properly understood as shorthand for "the principle of inertia" as described by Newton in his first law of motion: an object not subject to any net external force moves at a constant velocity. Thus, an object will continue moving at its current velocity until some force causes its speed or direction to change.On the surface of the Earth, inertia is often masked by gravity and the effects of friction and air resistance, both of which tend to decrease the speed of moving objects (commonly to the point of rest). This misled the philosopher Aristotle to believe that objects would move only as long as force was applied to them.{{Citation| last = Aristotle: Minor works| title = Mechanical Problems (Mechanica)| publisher = Loeb Classical Library Cambridge (Mass.) and London| year = 1936| location = University of Chicago Library| url =weblink | p= 407|quote=...it [a body] stops when the force which is pushing the travelling object has no longer power to push it along...}}Pages 2 to 4, Section 1.1, "Skating", Chapter 1, "Things that Move", Louis Bloomfield, Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia, How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary, John Wiley & Sons (2007), hardcover, {{ISBN|978-0-471-74817-5}}The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles in classical physics that are still used today to describe the motion of objects and how they are affected by the applied forces on them.

## History and development of the concept

### Early understanding of motion

Prior to the Renaissance, the most generally accepted theory of motion in Western philosophy was based on Aristotle who around about 335 BC to 322 BC said that, in the absence of an external motive power, all objects (on Earth) would come to rest and that moving objects only continue to move so long as there is a power inducing them to do so. Aristotle explained the continued motion of projectiles, which are separated from their projector, by the action of the surrounding medium, which continues to move the projectile in some way.Aristotle, Physics, 8.10, 267a1â€“21; Aristotle, Physics, trans. by R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20070129111002weblink |date=2007-01-29 }}. Aristotle concluded that such violent motion in a void was impossible.Aristotle, Physics, 4.8, 214b29â€“215a24.Despite its general acceptance, Aristotle's concept of motion was disputed on several occasions by notable philosophers over nearly two millennia. For example, Lucretius (following, presumably, Epicurus) stated that the "default state" of matter was motion, not stasis.Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (London: Penguin, 1988), pp. 60â€“65 In the 6th century, John Philoponus criticized the inconsistency between Aristotle's discussion of projectiles, where the medium keeps projectiles going, and his discussion of the void, where the medium would hinder a body's motion. Philoponus proposed that motion was not maintained by the action of a surrounding medium, but by some property imparted to the object when it was set in motion. Although this was not the modern concept of inertia, for there was still the need for a power to keep a body in motion, it proved a fundamental step in that direction.BOOK, Sorabji, Richard, Matter, space and motion : theories in antiquity and their sequel, 1988, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., 978-0801421945, 1st, 227â€“228, ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, John Philoponus, 8 June 2007, 26 July 2012, BOOK, Darling, David, Gravity's arc: the story of gravity, from Aristotle to Einstein and beyond, John Wiley and Sons, 2006, 17, 50,weblink 978-0-471-71989-2, This view was strongly opposed by Averroes and by many scholastic philosophers who supported Aristotle. However, this view did not go unchallenged in the Islamic world, where Philoponus did have several supporters who further developed his ideas.

### Theory of impetus

{{See also|Conatus}}In the 14th century, Jean Buridan rejected the notion that a motion-generating property, which he named impetus, dissipated spontaneously. Buridan's position was that a moving object would be arrested by the resistance of the air and the weight of the body which would oppose its impetus.Jean Buridan: Quaestiones on Aristotle's Physics (quoted at weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110720105959weblink">Impetus Theory) Buridan also maintained that impetus increased with speed; thus, his initial idea of impetus was similar in many ways to the modern concept of momentum. Despite the obvious similarities to more modern ideas of inertia, Buridan saw his theory as only a modification to Aristotle's basic philosophy, maintaining many other peripatetic views, including the belief that there was still a fundamental difference between an object in motion and an object at rest. Buridan also believed that impetus could be not only linear, but also circular in nature, causing objects (such as celestial bodies) to move in a circle.Buridan's thought was followed up by his pupil Albert of Saxony (1316â€“1390) and the Oxford Calculators, who performed various experiments that further undermined the classical, Aristotelian view. Their work in turn was elaborated by Nicole Oresme who pioneered the practice of demonstrating laws of motion in the form of graphs.Shortly before Galileo's theory of inertia, Giambattista Benedetti modified the growing theory of impetus to involve linear motion alone:Benedetti cites the motion of a rock in a sling as an example of the inherent linear motion of objects, forced into circular motion.

### Relativity

Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity, as proposed in his 1905 paper entitled "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" was built on the understanding of inertial reference frames developed by Galileo and Newton. While this revolutionary theory did significantly change the meaning of many Newtonian concepts such as mass, energy, and distance, Einstein's concept of inertia remained unchanged from Newton's original meaning. However, this resulted in a limitation inherent in special relativity: the principle of relativity could only apply to inertial reference frames. To address this limitation, Einstein developed his general theory of relativity ("The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity," 1916), which provided a theory including noninertial (accelerated) reference frames.Alfred Engel English Translation:{{Citation| last = Einstein| first = Albert| title = The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity| publisher = Princeton University Press| year = 1997| location = New Jersey| url =weblink| pages = 57| accessdate=30 May 2014}}

## Rotational inertia

Another form of inertia is rotational inertia (â†’ moment of inertia), the property that a rotating rigid body maintains its state of uniform rotational motion. Its angular momentum is unchanged, unless an external torque is applied; this is also called conservation of angular momentum. Rotational inertia depends on the object remaining structurally intact as a rigid body, and also has practical consequences. For example, a gyroscope uses the property that it resists any change in the axis of rotation.

## Example

If you had a tablecloth, with food on it, and you pull it quickly, most likely, the objects won't move. That's inertia.

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## References

{{reflist|35em}}

• Butterfield, H (1957), The Origins of Modern Science, {{ISBN|0-7135-0160-X}}.
• Clement, J (1982), "Students' preconceptions in introductory mechanics", American Journal of Physics vol 50, pp 66â€“71
• Crombie, A C (1959), Medieval and Early Modern Science, vol. 2.
• McCloskey, M (1983), "Intuitive physics", Scientific American, April, pp. 114â€“123.
• McCloskey, M & Carmazza, A (1980), "Curvilinear motion in the absence of external forces: naÃ¯ve beliefs about the motion of objects", Science vol. 210, pp. 1139â€“1141.
• BOOK, Pfister, Herbert, King, Markus, Inertia and Gravitation. The Fundamental Nature and Structure of Space-Time, Springer, Heidelberg, 2015, The Lecture Notes in Physics. Volume 897, 10.1007/978-3-319-15036-9, 978-3-319-15035-2,
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