Download Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton by Richard S. Westfall PDF

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By Richard S. Westfall

This richly exact 1981 biography captures either the non-public existence and the clinical profession of Isaac Newton, featuring an absolutely rounded photo of Newton the guy, the scientist, the thinker, the theologian, and the general public determine. Professor Westfall treats all facets of Newton's profession, yet his account centres on a whole description of Newton's achievements in technological know-how. therefore the center of the paintings describes the advance of the calculus, the experimentation that altered the course of the technological know-how of optics, and particularly the investigations in celestial dynamics that ended in the legislations of common gravitation.

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The hom e of the Aristotelian school rem ained at Athens for some time thereafter, Theophras­ tus succeeding A ristotle as head of the Lyceum and being in turn followed by S trato of Lam psacus, who for a tim e had lived at Alexandria as tu to r to Ptolemv II. I consider it very dubious to look upon Ptolem y’s astronom y as P latonist in spirit (as many do) sim ply because it em phasized m athem atics. It was Aristotle, not Plato, whom Ptolemy explicitly cited, and Ptolemy was concerned above all w ith the fitting of m athem atical dem­ o n strations to actual appearances in the w orld of sense, a world which Plato considered essentially illusory.

Galileo's theory probably occurred to him while w atching this effect during a trip to Venice, by analogy betw een this w ater and th at of the sea beneath. If a sea-basin were moving irregularly, its w aters should be set in oscillation and tides would result. Assuming that the earth had the two Copernican m otions, one around its axis and the other around the sun, their speeds would be additive during half the day, while one would be sub­ tracted from the other during the other half. A sea large enough to have w ater near one coast moving appreciably faster than that near the oth er should then exhibit tidal oscillations whose period would depend on length and depth, east-west orientation, period of retu rn , and other factors in fluid m otion, every such sea eventually settling into its own characteristic cycle of ebb 36 37 Military Courses 1595-97 and flow.

15 In chapter 20, however, Kepler tried to relate the speeds of the planets to their distances from the sun. ) This had led in 1596 to a seemingly rem arkable agree­ m ent of observations w ith a specious rule relating planetary speeds and m ean solar distances. K epler’s original tabulation m ust have been very striking to Galileo, however little he was willing to accept K epler's rationalization of the figures he had obtained. The calculations I assign to 1602 are on f. 146,18 where there is but a single abbreviated w ord, mom[ent], which nevertheless identifies the n atu re of the calculations.

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