- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Mach's principle

Related people

In cosmology, hypothesis that the inertial effects of mass are not innate in a body, but is determined by the quantity and distribution of matter in the universe.

Description

In cosmology, hypothesis that the inertial effects of mass are not innate in a body, but is determined by the quantity and distribution of matter in the universe. According to Mach, inertia applies only as a function of the interaction between one body and other bodies in the universe, even at enormous distances ("matter there governs inertia here"). This principle influenced Albert Einstein in his work on the general theory of relativity, and Einstein coined the term Mach’s principle, in 1918.

Inertia is the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest and of a body in motion to continue in motion in the same direction.

Bibliography

  • E. Mach:
    Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwicklung historisch-kritisch dargestellt.
    Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1883. 7th edition, 1912. 8th edition, 1921.
    English translation by Thomas J. McCormick:
    The Science of Mechanics. A critical and historical exposition of its principals.
    The Open Court Publishing Co. 1893.
  • Julian B. Barbour and Herbert Pfister, editors:
    Mach's Principle: From Newton's Bucket to Quantum Gravity. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser, 1995.
  • C. W. Misner, K. S. Thorne, and J. A. Wheeler:
    Gravitation. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman, 1973.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.

Disclaimer:

Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.