Facts about Isaac Newton: Laws, Discoveries & Contributions

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  • 0:01 Isaac Newton's Life
  • 0:38 Laws of Motion
  • 1:39 Isaac Newton's…
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeff Fennell

Jeff has a master's in engineering and has taught Earth science both domestically and internationally.

Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist whose discoveries have led him to be considered one of the most important and influential scientists in history. This lesson will cover his achievements and discoveries.

Isaac Newton's Life

Sir Isaac Newton (December 25, 1642 - March 20, 1727) was an English physicist, mathematician and astronomer who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists in history. In 1687, Newton published the paper 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,' in which universal gravitation and the three laws of motion are described. This paper became the basis for modern engineering and revolutionized scientific thinking.

Laws of Motion

Newton's first law of motion relates to inertia and states that an object will remain at rest unless it is acted upon by an external force. Similarly, for objects moving, an object will continue to move at a constant velocity unless acted upon by a force.

Newton's second law of motion is the law of force and is most simply described as force equals mass times acceleration, or F=ma. Your weight is actually described by this law: your mass times the gravity of Earth is equal to your weight.

Newton's third law of motion states 'for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.' When a body exerts a force on another body, the second body will exert a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the first body.

Isaac Newton's Discoveries and Contributions

In addition to Newton's laws of motion, Newton also contributed to other fields of science and mathematics.

In order to solve problems he encountered in his theories, such as problems with instantaneous speed and maximum and minimum value problems, Newton created a new form of math, calculus. The creation of calculus was undoubtedly the most remarkable achievement in math by Newton. The development of calculus opened up a new era in mathematics.

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