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Newton's Equations

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Newton's Equations

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Newton's Equations

In 1687 Isaac Newton published one of the most important and influential works about physics of all time, in many ways the birth of science as the world now knows it. Arranged in three books, it was called Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) but it’s usually just known as the Principia (Principles). In it Newton expounds many ground-breaking theories, setting out a series of “Laws” which can be expressed as mathematical equations. These equations can be used to define the whole universe (no less). In Book 1 Newton defines the term “mass” and then goes on to explain his three Laws of Motion which are the basis of classical mechanics: the laws of inertia, action and reaction, and acceleration proportional to force. In Book III he explains tides and the orbits of the planets using his Law of Universal Gravitation: this too can be expressed as an equation. In the process of formulating these theories Newton had invented the mathematical field of calculus, but he didn’t highlight it and, as with so many of his theories, was pipped to the publication post by another mathematician.


Your comments

They underly our understanding of most of our understanding of the physical world and technology.


It laid the foundations for further progress in science.
Ken Blackburn

Newton's equations, with their far reaching principles of the natural world, not only encompas the fundamentals of all modern science but communicate universally experiences of the senses, like the sense of a car moving forward. Descartes said "I think, therefore I am." But you wouldn't be able to think if you couldn't sense. For me, Newton's equations hint at what it means to be human.
Dan Parsons

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry