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Isaac Newton was Not a Physicist?

  1. Jun 21, 2007 #1
    I have searched and searched. I cannot find any record of Isaac Newton performing experiments in mechanics that would have proven his proposed mathematical relations between force, mass, time, and velocity to be true. As far as I have found, Isaac Newton did perform experiments in optics, but not in mechanics. If this is true, then Isaac Newton cannot be credited with being a physicist in the area of mechanics. I think it should be said that Isaac Newton was a great mathematician and a theoretical physicist, but not a great physicist in the area of mechanics. Have we mislabeled Issac Newton by hailing him as one of the world's first great physicists? Should we be instead saying that he was a mathematician who, by chance, used his intuition (which we all have) to create a mathematical model of physical interactions that happens to be correct?
     
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  3. Jun 21, 2007 #2

    ZapperZ

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    Er.. and optics is not physics?

    Stephen Hawking has not performed any experiments either. Are you saying he shouldn't be called a physicist? Or what about most of the theorists? I bet most of them have not performed any experiments to validate their theory. Are you also going to start a campaign to remove the label "physicists" to them as well?

    This post is highly puzzling. I don't believe you have any kind of authority to designate if someone is a physicist or not.

    Zz.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2007 #3
    iirc newton was a bit like galileo in the sense that the did experiements to demonstrate to anybody who doubted his theories/calculations, but not for the sake of convincing himself. the math/calculations were enough to convince him. & netwon studied the two major subjects in physics of his day, gravity & opticKs. :tongue:
     
  5. Jun 21, 2007 #4
    What mechanics experiments did Newton perform in front of people who doubted his theories?
     
  6. Jun 21, 2007 #5
    are you bonkers? his gravitational constant was empirical.

    btw atleast one is the water bucket is an experiment he performed
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007
  7. Jun 21, 2007 #6
    That does not answer my question. My question was: what experiments did he perform?
     
  8. Jun 21, 2007 #7

    ZapperZ

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    Why are you picking on Newton? What experiment did Einstein performed? What experiment did Bob Laughlin, Phil Anderson, and a whole bunch of other theorists who won the Nobel Prizes performed? So why are you picking on Newton?

    Zz.
     
  9. Jun 21, 2007 #8
    do you not know what empirical means? he performed experiments that allowed him calculate the constant. i have a vague recollection that he used a torsional pendulum and a mirror and light reflected onto a wall to measure it but i can't find anything about it. though i'm sure it's in the principia.
     
  10. Jun 21, 2007 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Whether Newton performed any experiment or not is utterly irrelevant to calling him a physicist. If such a thing is required for someone to be a physicist, then no theorists are physicists, which is absurd.

    I'll be damned if Lisa Randall has performed any experiment in String theory. I want to see someone not consider her a physicist.

    Zz.
     
  11. Jun 21, 2007 #10
    Isaac Newton did not measure the gravitational constant. The first to measure the gravitational constant was Henry Cavendish in the late 1700's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant
     
  12. Jun 21, 2007 #11
    If she is not concerned about proving her theories with experimental evidence, then she is not a physicist.
     
  13. Jun 21, 2007 #12

    ZapperZ

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    Says who? You? And who are you again?

    Zz.
     
  14. Jun 21, 2007 #13
    What's your definition of a physicist? Are you saying Einstein was not a physicist?
     
  15. Jun 21, 2007 #14

    russ_watters

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    How exactly do you define an "experiment"? Newton most certainly did observe and measure things to validate his theories.

    And while we're at it, where do you get this definition of "physicist"? You most certainly will not find it in the dictionary.
     
  16. Jun 21, 2007 #15

    Doc Al

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    This has got to be one of the more asinine threads I've seen. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Jun 21, 2007 #16

    russ_watters

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    Another question: why are we entertaining this crap?

    Answer: We're not anymore...
     
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