« PreviousContinue »
REV. G. PIRIE, M.A.,
It will be generally acknowledged, I think, that there is no subject of Natural Philosophy, equal in importance to that familiarly known as Rigid Dynamics, of which the study is so exclusively restricted to the more advanced students of Mathematics. Yet this restriction cannot be said to be necessary, for the treatment of the subject involves none of the higher mathematical methods; and it must be allowed to be unfortunate, for the science of motion is the basis of Mechanical Engineering, and furnishes the explanation of many interesting terrestrial and cosmical phenomena.
This restriction of the study is chiefly due to the fact that, while the conceptions and reasoning peculiar to the subject are somewhat difficult, the explanations of its leading principles, given in the books commonly used by students, are for the most part very brief, and often, through brevity, obscure.
It is this deficiency of explanation which I have attempted to supply in the following little book. It is not my purpose to acquaint the student with the splendid generalizations of Lagrange and of more recent philosophers. For that the books in present use leave nothing to be desired. My aim is to render more general the study of this interesting science, by presenting as simple a view of its principles as is consistent with scientific accuracy, and to give a sound foundation to the student who is to proceed higher.