.. r body (the earth). The last of the famous laws was “action and reaction.” This law just states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That low governs the behavior of rockets. Using these three laws, Newton was able to figure out the way gravitational force between the earth and the moon could be calculated.
Because you could use that calculation for any two bodies in the universe, the equation became the law of universal gravitation. With this, he also calculated the centripetal force needed to hold a stone in a sling, and the relation between the length of a pendulum and the time of its swing. As you well know, Newton was a very well rounded and intelligent man. Not only did he do work with math and physics, but he also discovered the basics of optics. This is a picture taken from Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia, 1997 Edition.
It shows Newton as he was experimenting with prisms and discovering the properties of white light. “He investigated the refraction of light by a glass prism; developing over a few years a series of increasingly elaborate, refined, and exact experiments, Newton discovered measurable, mathematical patterns in the phenomenon of colour.” (Hall online) He found that white light was a mix of varied colored rays. During his time, the telescope was just being invented and improved upon. Soon, the inventers noticed a distortion in the distant objects they were viewing. When they used a bigger lens, the light seemed to get blurry.
This blurred effect is known as chromatic aberration. The only reason the other intellects of the time could not figure out what was causing the problem was because they believed that white light from the sun was pure, when in all actuality, Newton proved wrong. Another contribution was the reflective telescope; he knew that the refractive telescope could only be so big, hence prohibiting extreme magnification. His optical studies stopped because of the Great Plague that hit in 1666. That is why he is mainly known for his mathematical discoveries and the laws of gravitation.
Newton once said, “If I have seen further than most men, it is because I have stood upon the shoulders of giants” (www.english.upenn.edu/~jlnch/Frank Demo/People/newton.html). Just as Newton built upon the existing knowledge of Descartes, Boyle, and Galileo, we have built upon the knowledge, which he has bestowed upon us. It seems as if there is a genius every one or two centuries whom steps beyond the bounds of the time in which he lives in, and Newton was one of those men. The only problem with him was, he could think of the processes, and inventions, yet the world at that time did not possess the technology to build and use what he had envisioned. “Newton’s contributions to physical theories dominated scientific thought for two centuries and remain important today” (Serway 86).
Sir Isaac Newton’s contributions of Calculus and his phenomenal three laws of motion have allowed we as a people to achieve things that he himself could never have imagined. Undoubtedly the first and greatest of Newton’s inventions was his development of what we call, modern day calculus. “Before the advent of calculus, mathematics was concerned with static situations and could not deal with the constant change which is ever present in the word around us”(The New American Encyclopedia Vol. 3: 891). This ingenious mathematical method has provided us with the ability to create things which the great philosophers of the past could only dream of. This mathematical method allows us to make precise calculations by using specified equations with only a few known quantities.
Have you ever tried to determine the volume of a solid after revolving a two dimensional object around an axis on the Cartesian plane? Without calculus it is not impossible, but it would be impractical to try and attack such a problem without the proper tools. Without calculus, it would be like trying to eat soup with a fork. “With calculus, Newton’s first great achievement, he provided himself with the mathematical tools necessary for the rest of his work”(www.tiac.net/users/bruen/newton.html). Mathematics, science, and technology go hand in hand. Without the proper mathematical methods, the advancement in science and technology is extremely limited. “Newton’s contributions provided the leap from the possible to the actual”(www.tiac.net/users/bruen/newton.html). With Newton’s new mathematical tools, he was able to develop and prove his laws of motion and gravitation. “In 1666 the contemplation of the fall of an apple led Newton to his greatest discovery of all, that of the law of gravitation and motion”(www.reformation.org/newton.html). Newton’s three laws of motion: 1) Bodies continue in a state of rest or uniform motion unless that condition is changed by applied force; 2) The rate of change of momentum is proportional to the acting force, and is in the direction that the force acts; 3) Whenever force is applied to a body there is an equal and opposite reaction; (The New American Encyclopedia Vol.
6: 1930) “All physical laws are stated mathematically as differential equations “(The New American Encyclopedia Vol. 3: 892). “As a consequence of his theories, Newton was able to explain the motion of the planets, the ebb and flow of the tides, and man special features of the motion of the Moon and the Earth”(Serway 86). And with these given laws of motion, we can verify and predict the way any given object will react to its environment. With these, we are able to accurately predict the path of projectiles, and this provides us with a safety barrier so that we can be warned prematurely of impending danger.
So in essence, these laws have helped we as a people to sustain life, as we know it, by giving us the means to detect and respond to any problems that might arise. Perhaps the best way to see what Sir Isaac Newton has given us is to look at what we as a people depend on most, the computer. Without the process of analytical geometry, better known as calculus, life wouldn’t be as easy as it is today. Meaning that the age of computers would have never come about and without them, manual labor would be used instead of automated labor, which would be a lot more costly, impractical, and inefficient. Let’s face it, it is just this simple, computers run the world as we know it! We rely on computers for everything, and without calculus, computers might still exist, but the programs which run them would be nonexistent, simply due to the fact that the majority of computers don’t run on the same input from day to day.
They run based on varying input. For the programs that run computers to be effective and efficient, they must be able to handle multiple inputs, and give reliable outputs when prompted. As it can clearly be seen, Sir Isaac Newton’s numerous contributions in the areas of science and mathematics have made it possible for we as a people to seemingly advance at an exponential rate. As Newton accredited his accomplishments to his predecessors, so must we attribute the success we have had today to the numerous accomplishments of Newton in the areas of Science and Mathematics. If we as a people today have achieved great things, it is because we have stood upon the shoulders of the giant, Sir Isaac Newton. Bibliography Works Cited Anthony, H. D. Sir Isaac Newton.
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