Sir Isaac Newton: Standing on the Shoulders of Galileo and Aristotle

1454 Words6 Pages
The general and widespread acceptance of Sir Isaac Newton’s models and laws may often be taken for granted, but this has not always been so. Throughout history, scientists and philosophers have built on each other’s theories to create improved and often revolutionary models. Although Newton was neither the first nor the last to bring major innovations to society, he was one of the most notable ones; many of his contributions are still in use today. With the formulation of his laws of motion, Sir Isaac Newton contributed to the downfall of Aristotelianism and provided a universal quantitative system for approximating and explaining a wide range of phenomena of space and the physics of motion, revolutionizing the study and understanding…show more content…
Aristotle’s model by today’s standards can easily be picked apart, but at the time, it was the best explanation that could be made with so little technology and insight. Although his theories have long since been replaced, they created a base for future scientists to work off of and challenge. Over time many great scientists began to question Aristotle’s theories. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), for example, contested the absolute significance of the earth, and he did not agree that it should be viewed as the center of the entire universe (Lizhi & Youquan, 1987). He plotted the earth at the center of the universe and created a heliocentric system just as mathematically complicated as the Ptolemaic system (one that also improved on Aristotle’s), but it explained a number of anomalies, including resolving the issue of retrograde motion (Ede, A. & Cormack, L., 2004). The problem was that Aristotle’s physics of ‘natural motion’ fell apart without the earth in the center of everything. Eventually Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) came to popularity, rejecting the Aristotelian notions of motion (O'Connor, J.J., & Robertson, E. F., 2002). He showed that speed does not increase continuously and that impetus does not exist, and argued that once motion starts it would remain forever, if not imparted. This idea is very similar to Isaac Newton’s later ideas of inertia and his

More about Sir Isaac Newton: Standing on the Shoulders of Galileo and Aristotle

Get Access