Sandra T. Belen
III – Thompson
Biography of Isaac Newton
Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727), English natural philosopher, generally regarded as the most original and influential theorist in the history of science. In addition to his invention of the infinitesimal calculus and a new theory of light and color, Newton transformed the structure of physical science with his three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. As the keystone of the scientific revolution of the 17th century, Newton's work combined the contributions of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and others into a new and powerful synthesis. Three centuries later the resulting structure - classical mechanics - ...view middle of the document...
Numerous anecdotes survive from this period about Newton's absent-mindedness as a fledging farmer and his lackluster performance as a student. But the turning point in Newton's life came in June 1661 when he left Woolsthorpe for Cambridge University. Here Newton entered a new world, one he could eventually call his own.
Newton's Three Laws of Motion
Newton's First Law of Motion:
I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
This we recognize as essentially Galileo's concept of inertia, and this is often termed simply the "Law of Inertia".
Newton's Second Law of Motion:
II. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.
This is the most powerful of Newton's three Laws, because it allows quantitative calculations of dynamics: how do velocities change...