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A general scaling law connecting the stiffness and dissipative properties of a linear mechanical oscillator immersed in a viscous fluid is derived. This enables the noninvasive experimental determination of the stiffness of small elastic bodies of arbitrary shape by measuring their resonant frequency and quality factor in fluid ͑typically air͒. In so doing, we elucidate the physical basis of the method of Sader et al. ͓Rev. Sci. Instrum. 70, 3967 ͑1999͔͒ for determining the stiffness ofdoi:10.1063/1.1935133 fatcat:laeqxtdr7ncgdgyhz5jycuhl2a