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Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

  • Date Submitted: 06/18/2011 06:11 AM
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Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
There can be no outstanding scientist list without Sir Isaac Newton; he made revolutionary advances in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy.  In 1687 Newton published the Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. Principia, as it has become known, is recognized as the greatest scientific book ever written!  Newton analyzed motion of bodies under the action of centripetal forces. The results were applied to orbiting bodies, projectiles, pendulums, and free-fall near the Earth. He further demonstrated planets were attracted toward the Sun by a force varying as the inverse square of the distance and generalized that all heavenly bodies mutually attract one another.  In order to perform his calculations, Newton invented calculus.
Newton also explained a wide range of previously unrelated phenomena such as eccentric orbits of comets, tides and their variation, precession of the Earth's axis, and motion of Moon as perturbed by gravity of Sun.  Newton was deeply interested in light and published optics in 1704.  Although he believed a wave theory more probable, he relied on a corpuscular theory to account for phenomena such as reflexion, refraction, colors, and diffraction.
Newton's Three Laws of Motion:
  1. A body continues in a state of rest, or motion with a constant velocity, unless compelled to change by an unbalanced force.
  2. The acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting upon it and inversely proportional to its mass.
  3. For every action force, there is an equal and opposite reaction force.

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