Talk:Three-body problem

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The section called "Classical versus quantum mechanics[edit]

This section was just fraught with problems. I contemplated deleting the whole section on the grounds that it had more disinformation than information. Basically, the "quantum 3-body problem" is stated here as finding the ground state and first excited state. But this isn't the same thing as finding the dynamics of an arbitrary state, which is quite complicated still in the quantum case. This is what we are asking for in the classical problem: the complete dynamics. So it isn't a fair comparison. The second sentence of the second paragraph still doesn't make sense, but I left it there in the hope that someone might be able to understand what the author intended and fix it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:06, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

I added a piece to this section since originally it was literally MISINFORMATION.

In quantum mechanics, analytical solutions of even 2-body problems (let alone 3 or more!) are impossible (except some special cases perhaps) since the Schrodinger differential equation cannot be solved analytically for 2 or more bodies interacting. That is why most "analytical solutions" involve approximations that reduce the problem to a single-body problem or an approximation that allows for an analytical solution. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:27, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Relation and possible merger between articles on 3-body problem and n-body problem[edit]

"It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with n-body problem."

Most of the material currently in Wikipedia on the 3-body problem already seems to be in the "n-body problem" article. There is very little of anything in the "3-body" article right now. That might seem to support a merger. On the other hand, much of the most intense and historically early work was focussed on the 3-body problem; and those are also the results that figure in much of the foundational description that readers would want to find in an encyclopedia. If this subject is developed in an appropriately encyclopedic way, I suggest that the 3-body problem would make a substantial and potentially very good article, probably too big to be a section in the "n-body problem" article. Terry0051 (talk) 20:51, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose merge. I agree with Terry0051. Although the math for n-body includes the narrow case of 3-body, the separate article for the special case is useful for historical and foundational reasons. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 05:58, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • The articles should not be merged. A wide variety of research was done on topics specifically related to the three body system. i.e. the Pythagorean three body system. There is no space to include all this information in the n-body problem article. (talk) 11:43, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

tag removed[edit]

The 'unreferenced' template has been removed, because the article does indeed have some citations. This makes the tag inappropriate in view of WP:Unreferenced, which says that "Wikipedia articles that have no citations belong in this category".

Existing citations are mainly in support of one section (history). So there might easily be room for 'citation needed' tags elsewhere. I didn't have time to explore that aspect. Terry0051 (talk) 12:46, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

[From Terry0051] I've added some 'citation-needed' tags: this is on the basis that they replace the previous general 'unreferenced' tag that was removed a short time ago. A few references are present, but large sections of the pre-existing content seems in need of RS or perhaps any reasonable explanation at all for general comprehensibility. (What these sections very probably need is recasting into more encyclopedic form and language). Terry0051 (talk) 17:27, 24 July 2009 (UTC)


So, has the damn' thing been solved for classical mechanics, or not? The article doesn't say. *Septegram*Talk*Contributions*

Re: Septegram 01:13, 8 November 2009 (UTC): it is by Sundman around 1913. That is described in detail in the article about the n-body problem. The solution however is useless for practical purposes.Oub (talk) 12:26, 13 December 2009 (UTC):

Problems with section n-body problem[edit]

It is stated

N-Body problems deal with the question of how n objects will move under one of the physical forces such as gravity. These problems don’t have an analytic solution for n greater than two (Except for special cases). Thus, for these kinds of problems using numerical solutions is unavoidable.

and there is a link to solutions in closed form. That is confusing and partially wrong.

  1. The n-body problem has an analytical solution, expressed by a convergent power series. This was found by Sundman/Wang. The solution is useless for practical purposes and that is why numerical analysis is at the moment the only way to obtain quantitative results.
  1. What is not known is a solution in closed form, but it is not proven that such a solution does not exist.

So I suggest to change the relevant text. I wait a day or two then I do it myself.Oub (talk) 12:32, 13 December 2009 (UTC):

Providing vs. possessing[edit]

Maybe there is some kind of specialized math terminology in use here that I'm not familiar with, but the last clause of this sentence doesn't make any sense to me:

'Solving' this problem means providing a generally applicable method for making this kind of determination of gravitational trajectories, or possessing such a method.

Does the bolded clause actually have a purpose--Subversive Sound (talk) 07:43, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

In Popular Culture[edit]

So this is what prevents a physicist having a threesome on xkcd! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

where is this article[edit]

this article is just silly. Frankly I can't think of anything else much to say. coupling. non-linearity. smooth differentiable space. more than 2 variables. I can't see that here. I've not read newton in the original. I imagine he brought these things up in some oblique 17th century way, which would be very interesting to hear about from whomever it was who knew which propositions of book 3 are involved. A historian I suspect. Probably Oxbridge or ivy. No one else has read the principia for years. It's the maths stupid.Duracell (talk) 01:37, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

"Examples" Section and Others[edit]

Most of the "examples" section is lacking citations and poorly written, containing colloquialisms and unnecessary jargon. It may be best to completely scrap the section (except the "Circular restricted three-body problem" portion)and allow it to be completely rewritten with proper citations. Overall, I would consider the page to be in great need of work to fix colloquial speech and general grammar. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:56, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Constant-pattern solutions[edit]

I have added a new section "Constant-pattern solutions". In principle, it supersedes the core of the "Circular restricted" section. (talk) 15:23, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

3-body symmetric orbit simulation[edit]

I suggest to add external link:

Do you mind? Breny47 (talk) 19:34, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Since the case can quite easily be solved exactly, I see no need to show what appears to be an approximating numerical solution. (talk) 12:20, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Transpose 3.1 & 3.2[edit]

3.1 "Circular restricted three-body problem" and 3.2 "Constant-pattern solutions" should change places, as the latter is more general, and the former adds little of value. (talk) 12:23, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

shades of Kovalevskaya?[edit]

What is meant by the parenthetical comment (shades of Kovalevskaya)? Is this supposed to be in the article? A Google search only returns a Ukrainian model of that name and this article.

Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya (Russian: Со́фья Васи́льевна Ковале́вская) (15 January [O.S. 3 January] 1850 – 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1891) was the first major Russian female mathematician, responsible for important original contributions to analysis, differential equations and mechanics, and the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe. She was also one of the first women to work for a scientific journal as an editor.[1] There are several alternative transliterations of her name. She herself used Sophie Kowalevski (or occasionally Kowalevsky), for her academic publications. After moving to Sweden, she called herself Sonya — Preceding unsigned comment added by Da5id403 (talkcontribs) 23:37, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Please clarify or remove the following statement[edit]

In the section "Circular restricted three-body problem", the final sentence reads "It can be useful to consider the effective potential."

Because there is no clear mapping for what "it" refers to, this sentence is at best confusing and at worst misleading. It is impossible to tell if the author meant "It (the Circular restricted three-body problem itself) can be useful when considering the effective potential", which would still be a broken sentence; or meant 'It' idiomatically, as in "The user may find consideration of the Effective Potential useful when...", which would again still be an incomplete and broken sentence.

So: restate or remove, please. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

adding Hill's lunar equations[edit]

I suggest that a reference is made in the article under the section periodic solutions to Hill's differential equations, since these equations give an (approximate) periodic solution for the three-body problem.

Hill's differential equations, first applied to lunar stability and therefore also known as Hill's lunar equations, are a method to approximate the periodic motion of the moon around the earth which in its turn has a periodic motion around the sun. Floquet proved convergence of Hill's differential equations, meaning that the Hill equations are suitable for solving the three-body problem. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:55, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Good review articles - 2014, 2015[edit]

-- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:18, 7 February 2017 (UTC)