Five Equations That Changed The World

Five Equations That Changed The World

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Five Equations That Changed The World

“He [Isaac Newton] sought out secluded areas, where he would sit for hours at a time, not so much to observe the natural world as to immerse himself in it”

Sir Isaac Newton was a man who would keep to himself. If not for that quality he may not have made the discoveries that he did. He would often sit in the garden for hours on end just thinking and formulating his ideas about the universe. In fact, that is the very place where the ideas of gravity and centrifugal force first came to him. He noticed an apple fall, and wondered why the apple fell to the earth but the moon didn’t. His discoveries about gravity led to his equation “E = G x M x m x d^2”, which means “the force of gravity is equal to the gravitational constant multiplied by the two masses involved divided by the square of the distance between them. This equation told scientists in NASA how to escape gravity and leave the earth to go to the moon.

“In other words, there appeared to be a trade-off between pressure and speed: The smaller the speed, the greater the pressure, or the greater the speed, the smaller the pressure”

This is a great discovery of Bernoulli. It seems to make sense when we apply it to blood vessels. Where the blood moves faster, the more it pushes forward, the less it pushes on the walls. A later more ingenious application for this idea is flying. The airplane was invented after Bernoulli but not due to him. The airplane and Bernoulli’s equation
“P + p x ½v^2 = CONSTANT”, were not connected until a Russian scientist by the name of Nikolai Zhukovsky made an excellent observation. He noticed that the tops of the wings of the plane were rounded. When he tested a plane in a wind tunnel, he noticed that the wings created two jet streams, an upper and a lower. The upper jet stream was narrower than the lower. Air is considered a fluid, so therefore the jet stream can be viewed as a river. According to Leonardo DA Vinci’s “Law of Continuity”, which says “A river of uniform depth will have a more rapid flow at the narrower section than at the wider”, the upper jet stream is faster than the lower. This is an amazing discovery on Zhukovsky; he had discovered how airplanes flew.

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Using Bernoulli’s equation, one can see that since the upper jet stream is faster than the lower, it has less pressure than the lower. Then, the airplane is able to fly because the pressure on the lower side of the airplane is greater than the upper and it pushes it up. Using this discovery, airplane designers can create better wings and parts of the airplane making the best of the equation.

“A lot of electricity was produced by a rapidly changing magnetic force, whereas barely a trickle was produced by a slowly changing magnetic force.”

This was Michael Faraday’s equation that sparked new interest in magnetism and electricity and the connection between them. He discovered that when he introduced a magnet to one side of a coil of wire wrapped around a metal washer, it produced electricity on the other side of the washer. He also noticed that when he repeatedly touched the washer it created more electricity. That’s can be summed up in the equation “V x E = -b/t”. He then concluded that if one spun the magnet rapidly, it creates an abundant amount of electricity. This is the basis of the dynamo. Paddles were attached to magnets and steam was passed through it so that the magnet spun rapidly therefore creating a constant stream of electricity. Electric motors replaced the steam engines providing a more efficient and quieter form of industry.

“The net change in the total entropy of the universe is always greater than zero.”

Rudolf Clausius discovered that anywhere, everywhere, the total of all the energy in the universe is constant. Each form of energy can be turned into another. He also noticed that heat naturally flows from hot to cold, it only goes cold to hot using artificial means. He called this lopsided temperature change entropy. He wondered if all the changes in entropy would also be constant. That was not the case. He noticed in steam engines that the amount of heat going from hot to cold always exceeded the amount of heat going from cold to hot. He tested all kinds of objects with his entropy ideas and time and time again he noticed a net increase in entropy. He then devised this formula to explain this idea “DELTA S of universe > 0”. This was a major breakthrough for many reasons. It gave a reason why everything aged and died. He compares the universe to a casino in which the gamblers make money, but they lose as well. As long as the casino makes more money than the gamblers, the casino stays in business. So too the universe “profits” from the deterioration of its parts. As long as matter ages and dies, the universe exists. As heat begins to flow from hot to cold, it creates many lukewarm regions. Eventually, the universe will become one uniform temperature and everything will stop moving, heading towards its end, and causing the casino to bankrupt.
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