History and Philosophy of Science » Newtonian Physics

Newtonian Physics

A Short Sketch of Newton’s Life

Sir Isaac Newton lived from 1642-1727. He published his Principia in 1687. In addition to physics or natural philosophy he had interests in alchemy and theology. Unlike many revolutionary thinkers he achieved universal acclaim during his life. Newton was the representative of the university in Parliament from 1689-1701 and president of Royal Society from 1703-1727. Queen Ann knighted him in 1705.

First Law
Newton’s first law of motion states that a net force must act upon an object for that object to accelerate in some direction.
Link to Newton’s First Law

Second Law
Newton showed how force can be quantified in his second law of motion. The famous equation Force = Mass x Acceleration was derived in Newton’s second law.
Link to Newton’s Second Law

Third Law
Most people are familiar with the phrase, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The basis for this claim is Newton’s third law of motion, where he showed that particles always exert equal and opposite forces on each other.
Link to Newton’s Third Law

Newton’s Conception of Gravitation was of a force. He described this force as having a mathematical relationship inverse to the sqaure of the radius from the center of of the object. This animation shows a comet moving into the gravity field of the sun and then accelerating in porportion to the force of gravity acting upon it.
Newton’s Gravitation: