# The Contributions of Isaac Newton

# The Contributions of Isaac Newton

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More ↓After his grammar school, he was supposed to come back and take care of the farm, however, it turned out that he was a lousy farmer. It was then decided that it would be good for him to go to university, so he enrolled in 1661 at Trinity College, Cambridge. He paid his first three years by doing odd jobs, but in 1664 he was elected a scholar, which guaranteed him four years of financial support. However, in 1665 the plague was spreading across Europe, and caused the university to close.

During this time Newton went home and began to look at problems concerning mathematics and physics. It was during this summer that be first began to understand the theory of gravitation and the theory of optics. He also developed many ideas about integral and differential calculus, however, he was always very reluctant to print anything publicly.

After he spent two years away from Cambridge, he returned in 1667, and he began to work on alchemy. However, in 1668 Micolas Mercator published a book containing some of the methods for dealing with infinite series, after which, Newton published his own book, De Analysi, that showed his more extensive understanding in the area and wider ranging results.This was a breakthrough for Newton into the world of mathematician, as he was now known for his abilities in the area.

Newton's first design and invention that made him well known, was his construction of a reflecting telescope. He built it entirely by himself by grounding the mirror, building the tube, and even the tools that were used in the construction. The mirror gave a different effect than the larger lenses did in that it focused at colors from slightly different distances. This effect is known as chromatic aberration. Mirrors are still used today in large telescopes.

As time moved on Newton became interested in theology, and he was convinced that Christianity had veered from the original teachings of Christ. He found himself unable to believe in the followings of the Church of England.

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Newton's First Law

Newton's first law states that: "In the absence of external forces, an object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion continues in motion with a constant velocity (that is, with a constant speed in a straight line)". What Newton is basically saying with this, is that an object does not accelerate when there is no force on that object. From this it is concluded that an object that is isolated from its environment will either remain at rest, or remain at a constant velocity.

An object may have a tendency to resist a force acting on it. This tendency is known as the inertia of an object. Newton refers to each object as being part of an inertial frame. These frames may be part of a reference point that is not accelerating itself.

This idea of thinking was extremely radical for the time. This is at a time when there was still so much to be learned about the universe and how things worked. For a claim like this to be made, it was really extraordinary.

Newton's Second Law

Newton's Second Law is used in physics constantly and there are numerous equations derived from this concept. This concept is:

Force = Mass * Acceleration

Force is in Newton units, where mass is in kilograms and acceleration is in meters/seconds^2. Force is something that is necessary in understanding different systems in physics problems. This explains the constant force that a person feels, because the constant acceleration of gravity is equal to 9.81 m/sec^2. Therefore if one were able to multiply their mass (in kilograms) by gravity, that would be the force acting down on them at any given time.

It is possible to visualize this concept. Imagine you have a constant force, say 10 Newtons, now imagine the mass you are moving across a table is extremely large, this means that by using simple algebra, it is easy to say that the acceleration is going to be small. The same holds if the acceleration is high, then the mass will have to be small, in order for it to also equal 10 Newtons.

Say you have a block that weighs 10 kg. You have a hand pushing against it with a force that is equal to 10 Newtons. Because F=ma

10 Newtons = 10 kg * a, therefore acceleration is equal to 1 meter/sec^2

Now imagine a block that weighs 10 kg. You still have the same hand pushing against it with the same 10 Newtons.

10 Newtons = 1 kg * a, therefore acceleration is equal to 10 meter/sec^2

Newton's Third Law

Newton's third law states: "If two objects interact, the force F, exerted by object 1 on object 2 , is equal in magnitude to and opposite in direction to the force acting from object 2 on object 1. F_12 = F_21." This is stating that a single isolated force can not exist, there is always two forces acting against each other, keeping each other in ballance.

For example, imagine throwing your fist into a wall, the harder you hit the wall (the greater force you exert), the more the wall hurts when you hit it, because it is exerting the same force back. Go ahead, try it.