1
$\begingroup$

How did Newton come up with the three laws of motion? Are these laws are true of newton, or they are of Galileo.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please read Wikipedia's history section on Newton's laws of motion. The first law is vaguely attributable to Galileo, the second to Huygens, and the third to Newton himself. But it is treating them as a whole and building a system of physics around them that's Newton's main contribution, even if he did not come up with a single one of them. By the way, in the original drafts Newton had five or six laws. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 20:28

2 Answers 2

1
$\begingroup$

The nature of the surviving evidence makes it hard to tell 'how Newton came up with his laws of motion': much of the evidence is in the successive verbal formulations of Newton's successive drafts, which often don't reveal much of his background thinking. Also, in the 'Principia' the laws of motion have the alternative title 'axioms'. One of the curiosities about them is that even though in retrospect they have been recognised as a highly original compilation, Newton did not seem to claim much by way of authorship of them: thus he concluded the statement of the axioms or laws of motion with a 'scholium' beginning: 'The principles I have set forth are accepted by mathematicians and confirmed by experiments of many kinds. ....' and he went on to acknowledge work or books by Galileo, Wren, Wallis, Huygens and Mariotte. There is a body of opinion tending to the view that Newton was being unduly modest about this, and it is worth looking at R S Westfall's "Force in Newton's Physics : the science of dynamics in the seventeenth century" (1971) to see why. It devotes chapters to detailed studies of the dynamics (or kinematics) of Galileo, Descartes and Huygens among others, as well as to Newton.

(This is the kind of question on which wikipedia is sometimes not at its strongest, better to trust the linked sources than the wp article itself, which in this case doesn't cite Westfall's work and begins by anachronistically mis-stating the laws themselves.) Better to read the laws as Newton wrote them, plus their explanatory passages, directly from 'Principia' iself, for which there's a good 1729 English translation free of copyright restrictions. The wikipedia article on the Principia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophiæ_Naturalis_Principia_Mathematica) has plenty of links to different parts of it, such as (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Tm0FAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA19) for the laws of motion themselves, but please read on to cover the references to 'accelerative force' etc.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

The problem of the motion of the planets and satellites. Moon, first of all. Also comets. To justify the inverse square law, Newton had to develop mechanics. His three laws summarize in a short, clear and elegant form what was known on mechanics. Then he could combine them with the gravitation law to compute the orbits of the planets, satellites and comets.

$\endgroup$
8
  • $\begingroup$ Dear Alexandre Eremenko, I am not aware of your and others reference for Newton's laws of motion, But there are very strong documents (like books published around 10-12 AC century) that claims that Newton's laws of motion is a word by word copy of laws of motion stated by Persian-Arab scientists. And I think the story of "Apple, gravity, satellite and etc are said for justification of Big lie. $\endgroup$
    – C.F.G
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ I will appreciate if you give a reference on a 10-12 century book that "claims that Newton's law of motion is a word by word copy...". Newton was born in 17 century, so I will be really surprised to find a reference on him in 10-12 century:-) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, But it is in Arabic and its expressions is hard for me to understand. I heard that Europeans about the renaissance translated all Persian-Arabic scientists books into English. probably you can find it in old and big libraries if you are interested in En-version. The book name is "Al-Isharat wa al-Tanbihat" by Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in Europe [because, as I heard, Spaniards claim that he is a Spanish scientist!!]) You can find retyped online version in Arabic here if you trust that it is same as its original. There, there is the first law of motion. $\endgroup$
    – C.F.G
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ There are other books by other scientists that the statement of newton laws is there. if you interested I can mention their name here. but as I said these are so heavy for me to understand. form Wiki: *Written in Arabic and Latin and accompanied by maps, it presented the world as a sphere. It calculated the circumference to be 37,000 kilometres (22,900 mi) — an error of less than 10 percent — and it hinted at the concept of gravity. * $\endgroup$
    – C.F.G
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ I do not believe that Newton's three laws of motion were stated in 10-12 century. If some modern scientist claims this, yes I would be interested in seeing exact reference. In the end of your remark, you mention something about "world as sphere" and even its circumference, but what relation does this have to Newton's laws of motion?? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 23:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.