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Written by: Bill Herren
Motion is one of the main topics in physics. Every single thing in the universe moves, even if it is very very, very slowly. Throughout history, there have been many scientists that have studied motion, and several different laws and rules have been discovered. These rules and laws have helped to explain motion, and changes in motion. Newton’s Laws of Motion are an important concept in physics that were discovered by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was an English mathematician and physicist who is highly regarded as one of the most influential scientists throughout history.
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton lived from 1642 to 1727. He was mainly raised by his grandmother after his mother remarried when he was only three. From a young age he studied science and went on to become a fellow of Trinity College as well as a professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Along with being known for the Laws of Motion, Newton was also credited with being one of the inventors of calculus. A brilliant scientist, he also built the first practical reflecting telescope along with developing a theory of color, among other accomplishments.
Newton’s First Law of Motion
Newton’s first law states that an object that is at rest tends to stay at rest, while an object that is in motion tends to stay in motion, with the same speed and direction. Motion needs an unbalanced force to act in order to change. If nothing happens to an object, and nothing does ever happen, then that object will never go anywhere. If the object is going in a specific direction, unless it is acted on by an unbalanced force, will go in that direction forever.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion
Newton’s second law states that the acceleration of an object produced by an applied force is the same direction as the force, is directly related to the magnitude of the force, and is inversely related to the mass of the object. Basically, if the same force is exerted on two objects of different mass, there will be different changes in motion, or accelerations. The effect of the acceleration of the smaller of the masses will be greater than the larger of the masses.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion
Newton’s third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Forces come in pairs. For example think of sitting in a chair. Your body needs to exert force downward while the chair needs to exert an upward force that is equal to the downward force; if this did not happen, the chair would collapse. Acting forces will always encounter other forces that are going in the opposite direction.
Newton’s Laws of Motion References:
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