"If I have seen further than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants."- Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) published his masterwork,
*Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica*
("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy")
in 1687.
In this tome he combined the individually remarkable
conceptual achievements
of calculus, vectors and an elegant expression
of the simple relationship between *force* and *inertia*
(which in effect gave definition to those entities for the first time)
to produce an integrated description of the interactions between
objects and exactly how they produce different kinds of motion.
This was the true beginning of the science of *dynamics*,
for it marked the adoption of the *descriptive paradigms*
that are still used universally to describe dynamics, even after
Quantum Mechanics has exposed Newtonian Mechanics as fundamentally
inadequate.^{1}
Newton, like most great thinkers, had a variety of ludicrous foibles
and was often a jerk in his dealings with others.
I will not attempt to document his personal life,
though many have done so [you can consult their work];
although it is interesting and revealing, it doesn't matter
to our understanding of the conceptual edifice he built
in the *Principia*.
Moreover, I will make no attempt to introduce concepts in the order
that Newton did, nor will I hesitate to use a more modern notation
or even an updated version of a paradigm, with the rationale that
(a) what matters most is getting the idea across clearly; and
(b) we may have actually achieved a more elegant, compact understanding
than Newton in the intervening centuries.
This is one of the endearing (to me)
traditions of Physics - and indeed of all genuine
pursuit of truth^{2}
- we treasure an *æsthetic* of searching for
a better, more elegant, more reliable, more accurate
(with regard to predicting the results of experiments),
*truer* model of the world and rooting out the
demonstrably wrong parts of existing models.
A frightening number of people who claim to *know*
the Truth share no such æsthetic
and in fact are dedicated to suppressing such activities
when they threaten their most cherished and unexamined Truths.
Grrrr....

Before we go on to expound Newton's "Laws" in their modern form
it is useful to examine the "self-evident" [oh, yeah?]
concepts of *force* and *mass* and their relationship
with that relatively rigorously defined kinematic quantity,
the *acceleration*.

Jess H. Brewer - Last modified: Fri Nov 13 17:34:25 PST 2015