Sir Isaac Newton: Standing on the Shoulders of Galileo and Aristotle Essay

Sir Isaac Newton: Standing on the Shoulders of Galileo and Aristotle Essay

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The general and widespread acceptance of Sir Isaac Newton’s models and laws may often be taken for granted, but this has not always been so. Throughout history, scientists and philosophers have built on each other’s theories to create improved and often revolutionary models. Although Newton was neither the first nor the last to bring major innovations to society, he was one of the most notable ones; many of his contributions are still in use today. With the formulation of his laws of motion, Sir Isaac Newton contributed to the downfall of Aristotelianism and provided a universal quantitative system for approximating and explaining a wide range of phenomena of space and the physics of motion, revolutionizing the study and understanding of astronomy.
Long before Newton’s time, Aristotelianism was one of the first widely accepted models for natural philosophy. The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) tried to describe all aspects of nature (Creed, J. L., & Wardman, A. E., 1963), and his insightful works eventually became well known and followed. Aristotelianism dominated over the European mind since his time all the way up the Middle Ages (Lizhi, F., & Youquan, C., 1987). Aristotle believed that the earth looked like a ball in the center of the universe and divided the space of the universe into two parts, using the moon as the dividing line. The sun, stars, planets, and anything ‘above the moon’ were in succession around the earth, all on different layers of the ‘celestial globe’, moving in a perfect circle with their fixed positions (Lizhi & Youquan, 1987). To explain motion, he asserted that every object had its own ‘natural position’ that it would always try to return to, provided there were no obstacles in its...

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... Sir I., 1726). This force was the result of two separate components, inertial motion, derivative of Galileo’s theory, but carrying the object in a straight line, combined with the force of gravity pulling the moon toward the earth. Newton disagreed with theories of centrifugal force and his introduction of his law was an attempt to contest the idea of it.
Standing on the shoulders of giants, Newton built off previous models of popular physics and introduced a revolutionary system for accurately quantifying the movement of bodies in space. His universal laws apply not only to planetary movement, but also to many aspects of common modern physics. In the publicizing Newton’s theories and models, they gradually replaced the Aristotelian theories taught in universities at the time, and proved a major contribution to the foundation of modern science and astronomy.

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