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The concept of energy, in the distant past, was used to explain easily observable phenomena, such as the effects observed on the properties of objects or any other changes. It was generally construed that all changes could in fact be explained through some sort of energy. Soon the idea that energy could be stored in objects took its roots in scientific thought and the concept of energy came to embrace the idea of the potential for change as well as change itself. Such effects (both potential and realized) come in many different forms. While in spiritualism they were reflected in changes in a person, in physical sciences it is reflected in different forms of energy itself, for example, electrical energy stored in a battery, the chemical energy stored in a piece of food (along with the oxygen needed to burn it), the thermal energy of a water heater, or the kinetic energy of a moving train. In 1807, Thomas Young was the first to use the term "energy" instead of Vis viva to refer to the product of the mass of an object and its velocity squared. Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis described "kinetic energy" in 1829 in its modern sense, and in 1853, William Rankine coined the term "potential energy."

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