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Motion (physics)

In physics, motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time. Motion is typically described in terms of displacement, distance (scalar), velocity, acceleration, time and speed.[1] Motion of a body is observed by attaching a frame of reference to an observer and measuring the change in position of the body relative to that frame.

If the position of a body is not changing with the time with respect to a given frame of reference the body is said to be at rest, motionless, immobile, stationary, or to have constant (time-invariant) position. An object's motion cannot change unless it is acted upon by a force, as described by Newton's first law. Momentum is a quantity which is used for measuring motion of an object. An object's momentum is directly related to the object's mass and velocity, and the total momentum of all objects in an isolated system (one not affected by external forces) does not change with time, as described by the law of conservation of momentum.

As there is no absolute frame of reference, absolute motion cannot be determined.[2] Thus, everything in the universe can be considered to be moving.[3]:20–21

More generally, motion is a concept that applies to objects, bodies, and matter particles, to radiation, radiation fields and radiation particles, and to space, its curvature and space-time. One also speak of motion of shapes and boundaries. Thus, the term motion in general signifies a continuous change in the configuration of a physical system. For example, one can talk about motion of a wave or about motion of a quantum particle, where the configuration consists of probabilities of occupying specific positions.

File:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg
Motion involves a change in position, such as in this perspective of rapidly leaving Yongsan Station.

Laws of motion

Main article: Mechanics

In physics, motion is described through two sets of apparently contradictory laws of mechanics. Motions of all large scale and familiar objects in the universe (such as projectiles, planets, cells, and humans) are described by classical mechanics. Whereas the motion of very small atomic and sub-atomic objects is described by quantum mechanics.

Classical mechanics