SR-35-Newton-force - simply analyze the observable motions...

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Newton on Force and Motion In the mid–1660s (age 22–24), Newton began his pioneering work on infinite series, on ‘ fluxions ’ (calculus), and on the physics of force and motion. Newton began to conceive of force as an external agent that acts on bodies that he treated as essentially inert (as in the mechanical philosophy). But he may have also drawn on alchemy and Renaissance naturalism for a view of matter as a source of forces that can act on other bodies. The key point was that Newton could now treat force as a quantitative analytical concept—the cause of a change of motion: F = (m v ), or F = m( v / t), or F = ma . Newton did not need to inquire into the ultimate meaning of ‘force’; he could
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Unformatted text preview: simply analyze the observable motions of bodies to find what forces were acting on them, and then use his knowledge of these forces to calculate their later motions. In 1665–66 Newton combined the centrifugal force formula (F = m v 2 /R) with Kepler’s 3rd Law (R 3 /T 2 = K) to show that all of the planets are drawn toward the Sun with a force whose strength falls off by 1/R 2 (an inverse square law ). Newton began to speculate that the Moon and ordinary bodies around us (such as apples) are drawn toward the Earth by a force that follows the same inverse square law, though there were still gaps in his reasoning—gaps he did not fill until 1680s....
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This note was uploaded on 12/03/2011 for the course HISTORY 322D taught by Professor Hunt during the Fall '11 term at University of Texas.

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