Thursday, April 3, 2008

Newton's Gift


In 1687 Isaac Newton attempted to explain the movements of everything in the universe, from a pea rolling on a plate to the position of Pluto. It was a brilliant, vaultingly ambitious and fiendishly complex task; it took him three sentences.

These are the three laws of motion with which Newton founded the discipline of classical mechanics and conjoined a series of concepts - inertia, acceleration, force, momentum and mass - by which we still describe the movement of things today. Newton’s laws have been refined over the years – most famously by Einstein - but they were still good enough, 282 years after they were published, to put Neil Armstrong on the Moon.

-BBC's In Our Time

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