Sir Isaac Newton's Big Ideas

by: Anna Schneider

Isaac Newton discovered many of the laws and theories that help us to understand the universe. He gave future scientists the tools and facts to discover how to enter space.  To many people, he is considered the single most important contributor to the development of modern science.

Isaac Newton was born on December 25,1642 in Woolsthorpe, England.  He attended Cambridge University and studied mathematics.

One of his significant discoveries is the law of universal gravitation. He discovered it on his mother's farm when he saw an apple fall from a tree. He wondered if the same force at work with the apple was at work with the moon. If so, why did the apple fall to the earth instead of the moon, he wondered. Newton finally came to the conclusion that the apple and the moon were attracted by the same force. According to Newton, this force pulls heavy bodies near the surface of the earth, towards the earth's center. Newton did not really discover gravity because everyone knew that the world was full of heavy bodies, but he explained what heaviness was in a new way. The more mass an object has, the more gravitational pull it has. Gravitational force also depends upon how far you are from something. The reason of gravity is the earth pulls you towards the center. The earth is much stronger than us, so we cannot just pull earth towards us.

He also developed the three universal laws of motion. Law #1 is called the "Law of Inertia" (in-ur-shuh). An object will stay still and remain still unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Law #2 is called the "Definition of Force". The greater the mass, the more force is required to move it. Law#3 is called the "Law of Reciprocity"(res-uh-pros-i-tee). For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. While at college, he was writing ideas in a journal. He had ideas about motion and that is when it all came to him on how to figure it out. He was also one of the creators of calculus. Calculus is the mathematical study of change. He thought of the concepts in very different ways. Newton was thinking about variables changing with time.  He was not the only creator.  He thought it represented a huge leap in the fields of math and science. If he did not make these advances, we would not have some of the important rules that we have now to study science.

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