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Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion

Updated on July 2, 2018

Isaac Newton's Pet Cat

Isaac Newton had a pet cat. Keeping track of the requirements of the cat and attending to his needs included letting him in and out of the house frequently. As frequently as the situation demanded, and as frequently as the cat demanded too!

This in turned required that Newton opens and closes the door each time this need arises.The need arose more often than the limits of endurance permitted.

Opening and closing doors was not exactly the fun that Isaac Newton was after. He was after much bigger fun and did not want to spend a lot of time playing the role of doorman!

So Isaac Newton, the great problem solver cut a small hole at the bottom of the door, big enough to for the cat to go out and come in as he pleases. Then the problem ceased to exist for both man as well as cat.

The cat was pleased, really pleased.

In fact, the cat, standing stiff on all fours, looked up at Newton's face, with its tail right up on full mast, and in sheer gratitude purred out a long "kr-rrr-ngyeaow," purring away like nothing!

Here Is A Picture Of Isaac Newton
Here Is A Picture Of Isaac Newton

Newton's Solution

Months later the cat had a kitten. The kitten soon began to follow his mother around. Newton observed this and inferred that the kitten too needed a means of exit and re-entry.

Newton's action then was to cut another hole at the bottom of the door, adjacent to the one he had previously cut, but smaller in size so as to fit in to the contours of the kitten in order that the kitten too could enter and exit the premises as freely as his mother.

There were two animals in question. One big and the other small. Logic was not required here nevertheless utilized! One small hole for the kitten and the larger hole for the cat. Great! Large hearted action from a large hearted man too!

"How very considerate of Isaac!" Thought the cat. Previously he had a hunch that Isaac was a highly intelligent homo sapien.

However, after this incident, the cat, although flattered and grateful, was somewhat confused, and developed some doubts about Isaac and remained that way for a while.

The Science Of Isaac Newton

Newton, one of the giants who contributed in a big way to "make it possible" for all of us, did just that! Well, let us examine the reasons.

Newton viewed each cat's need as a separate one, and attended to each requirement individually.

Of course great minds focus only on great things, solving riddles which the ordinary mind is not capable of comprehending.

The mind of Isaac Newton was far too extraordinary to focus on an issue concerning a cat and a kitten. However the fact remains that Newton gave importance to his pets by attending to their requirements.

Newton's reaction to this requirement was, just a cursory glance at the "problem" caused by the cat's need. A solution was already available. Arriving at this solution did not require much or any kind of calculation.

Newton failed to analyze this solution with a view to simplifying it. The need to simplify the solution any further did not exist. Immediate application of the available solution solved any need for further action.

Isaac Newton's Laws Of Motion - The First Law

A major part of Newton's fame comes from having discovered the laws governing motion, and although these laws seem too obvious to some, application of these laws is necessary to arrive at conclusions in problems concerning motion, especially in calculations which govern predicting positions of celestial bodies which are in motion.

The first of these laws states that every object is in a state of rest or uniform motion unless and until compelled by some external force to cause a change to this state of rest or motion.

Celestial bodies are in constant motion, and if any noticeable change occurs to this consistency, then there is certainly an external cause.

Astronomers and scientists are required to investigate. Changes which are measurable are usually attributed to changes in gravitational fields in the vicinity which in turn is caused by other events.

The key to detecting other events are triggered off when changes are noticed in the motion of certain celestial bodies.

Newton's Second Law Of Motion

Newtons second law of motion would not seem too obvious to some or many.

It simply shows the relationship of the mass of an object in motion with it's acceleration and the force which causes the motion.

It states that the force causing the acceleration is equivalent to the mass of the object multiplied by it's acceleration.

Newton's Third Law Of Motion

The third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Here is my version of an example, an attempt to explain the third law.

Here it is, read on ...

An object weighing one pound is placed on a table. Now, if the table suddenly ceased to exist, the object will fall to the ground.

Well, the force that is causing the object to fall is its weight. In order to stop the object in its tracks, it is obvious that a force equivalent to the weight of the object should be applied in the direction exactly opposite to the motion of the falling body.

This is exactly what the table did. The table, merely by being there did not stop the object from falling. It exerted a force equal to the weight of the object in the direction opposite to the direction of the weight of the object.

That is what prevented the object from falling. It was the table's action, and not merely the table's existence that prevented the object from falling! Do you get it?

Explaining The Third Law Of Motion

Let me make this a little clearer to you.

Let us look at it this way, if you hold an object above the ground and then release your grip on it, the object falls until it hits the ground.

What should you do in order to prevent the object from falling? Well, you need to first determine what it is that is causing the object to fall, right?

Right! It's gravity of course! ... Isn't it?

Nonsense! Gravity has nothing to do with it! ...

Say what? ... What's up then?

Well, let me tell you, it is the weight of the object and nothing but the weight of the object!

It is indeed the weight of the object that is causing the object to fall!

How come?

You see, if the weight of the object was zero, then gravity would not be able to influence it at all! You could place it in mid air and it would stay there till doomsday!

So, now that we know what causes the object to fall, we should be able to figure out how to prevent it from falling!

Simple logic will tell you that the weight of the object is the force that is causing it to fall, and that force is acting downwards. In order to stop that force from being effective, you need to apply an equal force in exactly the opposite direction.

That means if the object weighs five pounds, you need to apply a force of exactly five pounds in the direction opposite to the direction of motion of the falling object. In this case, since the object is falling down, you need to apply an equal and opposite force upwards.

The table did just that! The table applied the equal and opposite reaction that the third law talks about. If the table did not offer an equal and opposite reaction, I swear that the object would fall right through the table.

So to recap it all I would say that the object exerted a force on the table which was equal to the weight of the object. In order to keep the object quiet, the table applied an equal and opposite force on the object.

In fact the table obeyed Newton's third law of motion to the letter. That's all it did! Clever law-abiding table!

Aah! Now you understand Newton's third law of motion don't you?

... concluded

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© 2009 quicksand


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      how Isaac Newton came up with laws of motion

    • jeyatharsini24 profile image


      8 years ago

      Really nice quick sand. Write more i like to read all.

      Read my article also

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What do you mean when you say Newton discovered the strait forward laws of motion? And what do you mean when you say it requires extraodinery mind to do so? It only requred someone like Newton to be a physicist at the right place at the right time in history. Consider the boat made thaosands of years before Newton, it could not be made by a person who did not know that for every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction force.

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hi Tony, thanks for your visit and your kind words. :)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      I really enjoyed this Hub. Witty and informative. Thanks so much.

      Love and peace


    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thanks for commenting Gerry and welcome to Hub Pages. I am looking forward to your articles! :)

    • profile image

      Gerry Hiles 

      9 years ago


      I enjoyed reading your article, but there is a problem with 'weight' even on Earth see

      And of course on the Moon "1kg" of potatoes would only weigh about "250g" say. Same mass though.

      PS Coming across your hub (I'd never heard of hubs) whilst searching for stuff on Newton whilst writing about him, has led me to take the plunge and start a hub of my own.

      First time I've ever had a 'site' lol.

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks Newton's Rival, I shall do a Google search on the Keeker theory.

    • Newton's Rival profile image

      Newton's Rival 

      10 years ago from U.S.A

      Newton was wrong. I have solved the Unified Theory. It has been renamed The Keeker theory.

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks Brian, thanks for commenting, and thanks for your wishes too. I wish you and your family the same. :)

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      10 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      I thought he only used the opposite force to close out his equations, otherwise they wouldn't work. So practically, isn't it just that the table is strong enough to withstand the force in reality and is not actually pushing back with a force of its own. From a mathematical viewpoint it is one and the same. Or I could be just making it up as I go along!!!

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family, and thanks for a good read.

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hi BeatsMe, Newton unlocked many of the secrets of nature and he is one of the giants of Science whom we should all bow down to. Their discoveries gave inventors the much needed data for innovation. Thanks to the likes of them, we are able live comfortably in this age with all the conveniences.

      They were focused on things that the ordinary man would never comprehend. That took away from them reason to give importance to small issues.

      As always I am grateful for your visit and your encouragement. Cheers!

    • BeatsMe profile image


      10 years ago

      Well, they do say that to be able to think big, start small, or is it think small? I only understood the part 'bout his cats, didn't quite understand the laws of motion. heheheh. Hope I didn't upset you. :)

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      That's a great complement indeed, James. Especially coming from an accomplished musician and scientist like you. Thanks a lot! :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      This is great! You are witty and intelligent. The article was informative in several ways, well written and a joy to read. Thanks!

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hi TOF! How are you doing?

      Some say that weight is an illusion caused by the quantity of matter present in a body.

      "Like the lapsed ....., no mass no attraction." !!!!!!!!! :)

      Thanks a lot for your valuable comment! :)

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 

      10 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Isn't there something about weight ain't nothing but a concept, caused by "gravity," in turn dependant on the mass of two objects and their proximity to each other. Like the lapsed Roman Catholic, no mass no attraction.

      Cheers mate, TOF.

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      LOL, we learned using the FPS system!

    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 

      10 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      well said there, I guess i have to read your hub again hehehe for now I can't hehehe I'm a bit intoxicated... feet per second nyahahaha that's quite old a bit, english system but at the end its F=ma... you have an excellent hub here overall... qs... tc friend...

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hi General!

      I did state that a body is at rest or uniform motion until and unless influenced by an external force to change that state of rest or uniform motion.

      As for the second law, we were taught that p=mf, where p equals the accelerating force in foot poundals and m relates to the mass of the object and f represents the acceleration in feet per second per second.

      Eli Buenda? :) Well my name is El Vispres Lee! :) Thanks for your visit and remarks!

    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 

      10 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Wow you did a splendid job doing this hub, but where is the 1st law of motion which is the law of inertia, i'm just curious qs for i'm teaching this subject, hehehe the second law has something to do with F=ma, the third law is about cause and effect, overall, you have a nice hub here hehehe and you look like ely buendia the ex- vocalist of the Eraserheads...

    • quicksand profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hi Shal, I hope you agree with me, or at least with Sir Isaac Newton! As always, thanks a lot for the encouragement! :)


      Hi Nancy, you've got to thank Newton for sharing his knowledge with the world. Are we not grateful to those giants who cleared the way for all of us?

      I appreciate your visit and your remarks! :)

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this knowledge in such an enjoyable way…

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      10 years ago from India

      Do I understand? My mind's in a queer state of motion after reading that! :D


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