Jones, Edwin R. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
- Measuring mass
- Mass and weight
- Weightlessness and microgravity
- Mass and energy
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The quantitative measure of the inertia of an object, that is, of its resistance to being accelerated. Thus, the more massive an object is, the harder it is to accelerate it (change its state of motion). Isaac Newton described mass as the “quantity of matter” when formulating his second law of motion. He observed that the rate of change of motion is proportional to the impressed force and in the direction of that force. By “motion” he meant the product of the quantity of matter and the velocity. In modern terms Newton's “motion” is known as momentum. The second law is expressed by Eq. (1),
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