- Education and Science
Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion
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!
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?
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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!
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?
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