By Roald K. Wangsness
Read or Download Introductory Topics in Theoretical Physics: Relativity, Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics. PDF
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Extra resources for Introductory Topics in Theoretical Physics: Relativity, Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics.
Here are excerpts from his book Principia Philosophia: As regards the general cause [of motion], it seems clear to me that it can be none other than God himself. He created matter along with motion and rest in the beginning; and now, merely by his ordinary cooperation he preserves just the quantity of motion and rest in the material world that he put there in the 49 beginning.... Further, we conceive it as belonging to God’s perfection not only that he should in himself be unchangeable but also that his operation should occur in a supremely constant and unchangeable manner.
Although confined and shaken in spirit, he was not defeated. Beset by ill health and domestic sorrows, he nevertheless found strength and courage to write a new book, Discourses on Two New Sciences—in dialogue form as before. It was his greatest work, presenting the fruits of a lifetime of scientific endeavor. We shall be much concerned with its contents in the next chapter. After considerable difficulty it was published in Leyden, Holland, in 1636. Shortly thereafter, Galileo became blind, but he lived on to the age of 78 and died on January 8, 1642—the very year, it is often remarked, in which Newton was born.
He succeeded strikingly, ending his school days as head boy in the school. He entered Cambridge in 1661. In 1665 the dreaded Black Death struck London, and soon it spread to Cambridge, causing Newton to retire for two fateful years to the safety and quiet of Woolsthorpe. There his genius blazed forth with such intensity that in those two years, in his early twenties, he laid the basis for almost everything of note that he was ever to accomplish. He began the construction of the calculus, laid bare to himself the nature of color, and, he said, discovered the mathematical law governing the amount of gravitational attraction between objects.