The life of Isaac Newton (I)
文章来源:未知 文章作者:meng 发布时间:2009-09-30 06:01 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

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.她能感觉到脚下船在晃动。
  • Don't open the door while the train is in motion.列车运行时,请勿打开车门。
2 unnatural 5f2zAc     
  • Did her behaviour seem unnatural in any way?她有任何反常表现吗?
  • She has an unnatural smile on her face.她脸上挂着做作的微笑。
3 follower gjXxP     
  • He is a faithful follower of his home football team.他是他家乡足球队的忠实拥护者。
  • Alexander is a pious follower of the faith.亚历山大是个虔诚的信徒。
4 mathematical KBAxJ     
  • The solution can be expressed by a mathematical equation.答案可用一个数学方程式来表示。
  • Einstein was a mathematical genius.爱因斯坦是数学天才。
5 formula g6gys     
  • His father is acting on his formula.他的父亲总是按他的原则办事。
  • Here are some applications of Taylor's formula.下面举例说明泰乐定理的应用。
6 farther olHxM     
  • I can throw the ball farther than you can.这个球我能比你扔得远。
  • The farther hill is five kilometres away.那座更远的小山在五公里以外。
7 planets f4ebb228cedc38a86b9e60ec64484492     
行星( planet的名词复数 ); 地球(尤指环境)
  • Does life exist on other planets? 其他行星上有生命吗?
  • the planets of our solar system 太阳系的行星
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