The life of Isaac Newton (I)
文章來源:未知 文章作者:meng 發布時間:2009-09-30 06:01 字體: [ ]  進入論壇

Most of you, no doubt, know the story of Newton and the falling apple and how it led to his discovery of the law of gravity. But how much do you know beyond that? Do you know what kind of man this great scientist was? or where he stands in the history of science? If you don't, or even if you do, read the following lesson.

Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642. He grew up in the English countryside. From the very first Newton was very much interested in the mysteries of nature. One of the most difficult scientific problems of Newton's day was about the question of motion1. Why did objects move? Scientists could see that stones rolled down hills, that wind blew leaves along the ground, and heavy objects fell to the earth when dropped.

After Copernicus, they began to admit that the earth itself moved. "Were there laws that govern these various kinds of motion?" they asked themselves. The Greeks had believed there were different rules for motion on earth and in space, and that there were unnatural2 movements on the surface of the earth.

Galileo was the first person to challenge this Greek view of motion. This Italian scientist was a follower3 of Copernicus. It didn't make much sense to Galileo to have different rules for motion on earth and in space. He made two important discoveries. First, he showed that motion was not unnatural. On the contrary, an object once in motion would tend to continue in motion. Second, Galileo worked out a mathematical4 formula5 for the motion of all objects that fell to the earth.

Galileo, however, did not explain how all motion in the universe worked. Much work had been done since Copernicus to observe and record the movements in the solar system. It remained now for some great mathematical mind to pull this work all together and put it into universal laws.

At the age of twenty-three Isaac Newton moved from Cambridge to his country home. There his thoughts turned to the problems of motion. As Newton himself later told the story, he was sitting in the garden one evening, thinking, when he noticed a falling apple. The apple set him to wondering about the movement of falling things.

It occurred to him that the force which caused fruit to fall from trees worked quite as well at greater distances from the center of the earth -- on top of buildings or even on top of mountains. Perhaps, thought Newton, this same force reached out much farther6 still, even to the moon. Was it this force which kept the moon going around the earth? And if so, could not the same force explain the movements of the planets7 around the sun? Newton began to search for a mathematical expression of his idea.


1 motion nEzxY     
  • She could feel the rolling motion of the ship under her feet.她能感覺到腳下船在晃動。
  • Don't open the door while the train is in motion.列車運行時,請勿打開車門。
2 unnatural 5f2zAc     
  • Did her behaviour seem unnatural in any way?她有任何反常表現嗎?
  • She has an unnatural smile on her face.她臉上掛著做作的微笑。
3 follower gjXxP     
  • He is a faithful follower of his home football team.他是他家鄉足球隊的忠實擁護者。
  • Alexander is a pious follower of the faith.亞歷山大是個虔誠的信徒。
4 mathematical KBAxJ     
  • The solution can be expressed by a mathematical equation.答案可用一個數學方程式來表示。
  • Einstein was a mathematical genius.愛因斯坦是數學天才。
5 formula g6gys     
  • His father is acting on his formula.他的父親總是按他的原則辦事。
  • Here are some applications of Taylor's formula.下面舉例說明泰樂定理的應用。
6 farther olHxM     
  • I can throw the ball farther than you can.這個球我能比你扔得遠。
  • The farther hill is five kilometres away.那座更遠的小山在五公里以外。
7 planets f4ebb228cedc38a86b9e60ec64484492     
行星( planet的名詞復數 ); 地球(尤指環境)
  • Does life exist on other planets? 其他行星上有生命嗎?
  • the planets of our solar system 太陽系的行星
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