Isaac Newton (1642-1727) discovered (and showed
mathematically) that objects in free fall (such as planets
influenced by a central force like the Sun's gravity) follow
the paths of conic sections. The task of deducing all three of
Kepler's laws from Newton's universal law of gravitation is
known as the Kepler problem. Its solution is one of the
crowning achievements of Western thought.
Episode 22: The Kepler Problem - The Mechanical Universe 28:30
Newton's Laws Of Motion
Newton's Law Of Universal Gravitation
Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the
by David Berlinski
Free Press, March 2002
Sir Isaac Newton, creator of the first and perhaps most
important scientific theory, is a giant of the scientific
era. Despite this, he has remained inaccessible to most
modern readers, indisputably great but undeniably remote.
In this witty, engaging, and often moving examination of
Newton's life, David Berlinski recovers the man behind the
mathematical breakthroughs. The story carries the reader
from Newton's unremarkable childhood to his awkward
undergraduate days at Cambridge through the astonishing year
in which, working alone, he laid the foundation for his
system of the world, his Principia Mathematica, and to the
subsequent monumental feuds that poisoned his soul and
wearied his supporters. An edifying appreciation of Newton's
greatest accomplishment, Newton's Gift is also a touching
celebration of a transcendent man.
Newton's Principia for the Common Reader
by S. Chandrasekhar
Clarendon Press, Oxford, July 1995
Quoting from "Great Physicists: The life and times of leading
physicists from Galileo to Hawking:" by William H Cropper.
"For his final study, Chandra chose a remarkable
subject--Isaac Newton. Chandra was a student of science
history and biography, and he had a wide acquaintance among
his contemporaries in physics and astrophysics. But for him
one scientist stood above all those of the past and present,
and that was Newton. He decided to pay homage to Newton, and
try to fathom his genius, by translating "for the common
reader" the parts of Newton's Principia that led to the
formulation of the gravitational law.
"Newton relied on the geometrical arguments that are all but
incomprehensible to a modern audience. To make them more
accessible, Chandra restated Newton's proofs in the now
conventional mathematical languages of algebra and calculus.
His method was to construct first his own proof for a
proposition and then to compare it with Newton's version.
"The experience was a sobering one," he writes. "Each time,
I was left in sheer wonder at the elegance, the careful
arrangement, the imperial style, the incredible originality,
and above all the astonishing lightness of Newton's proofs,
and each time I felt like a schoolboy admonished by the