Newton versus Einstein

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Sorry guys, but this was the logical follow up of my previous thread. Your mission, if you choose to take it, is the following: who better "revolutionized" physics, Einstein or Newton? For now we will leave the question this simply, I may push for more clarifications later. Give your reasons.
 

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  • #3
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Before we start, is this for some school project?

Yes, it's for the school of scientific enquiry...
 
  • #4
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Because some obviously seem timid to begin, I will start. My vote goes to Einstein, because he overturned a world of opinion that had, for the better part of two centuries, a world that pushed to operationalize physics. Newton was essentially working with a blank slate. That's not to knock Newton's accomplishments, Newton brought humanity out of the oblivion of ignorance of the physical sciences. However, he had no competition. You could argue that his achievements were on par with Galileo, someone who saw science where others just worried about money and their family, etc., but wanted to do more. Admirable. But Einstein really went outside the box to get to the heart of the matter. For Newton, physics was just one of several ways to merge with his creator.
 
  • #5
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I would say Newton, he made the box that Einstein was able to go outside of.
 
  • #6
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Newton don't study physics that time it was Natural Philoshphy. Also Gravitation and other don't influence the world,Apple till today fall on Earth just known why, it was the Atomic Bomb based on E=m^2.that changed world upside down, a new Sun on Surface of Earth.

My vote is for Einstein.
 
  • #7
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Newton don't study physics that time it was Natural Philoshphy. Also Gravitation and other don't influence the world,Apple till today fall on Earth just known why, it was the Atomic Bomb based on E=m^2.that changed world upside down, a new Sun on Surface of Earth.

My vote is for Einstein.

except that the engineers and scientists who built the bomb, airplane and equipment to extract the material for it used Newton's methods.
 
  • #8
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except that the engineers and scientists who built the bomb, airplane and equipment to extract the material for it used Newton's methods.

Actually, I think the major work done during the Manhattan project was based on quantum mechanics, not classical or relativity physics.
 
  • #9
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except that the engineers and scientists who built the bomb, airplane and equipment to extract the material for it used Newton's methods.
Because they not have velocity c,Newton's Laws applies to Real world and Einstein's simply Imagine or go advanced.

If something really Revoutionised the World then it is Electricity, Maxwell & Faraday.Newton didn't do anything which help mankind in living. The Question Newton Vs Einstein always comes but main point turn to who is the Genius.And who is your Role Model.
 
  • #10
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Because they not have velocity c,Newton's Laws applies to Real world and Einstein's simply Imagine or go advanced.

If something really Revoutionised the World then it is Electricity, Maxwell & Faraday.Newton didn't do anything which help mankind in living. The Question Newton Vs Einstein always comes but main point turn to who is the Genius.And who is your Role Model.

but all these scientists, Einstein included learned Newton's physics so you can't say he didn't influence them somehow once again he built a box that others stood on and Einstein jumped out of.

With respect to the equation E=mc^2 true it predicted the energy in an atom but it didn't show the way on how to extract it. Others did that using their Newtonian training did that with the help of Quantum Mechanics.
 
  • #11
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but all these scientists, Einstein included learned Newton's physics so you can't say he didn't influence them somehow once again he built a box that others stood on and Einstein jumped out of.

My opinion is that is that it is almost like comparing apples and oranges. Newton invented something out of nothing, whereas Einstein revolutionized the common understanding. These are two fundamentally different accomplishments qualitatively, but we tend to lump Newton and Einstein together in the same apple bag. But their achievements are qualitatively distinct. My question is that can we place an objective value on one over the other?
 
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Both Explored their own Era and also both have different fields so its hard to campare, (not as easy Feynman Vs Dirac).Newton give their all law for Bulk particles (because Electron not discovered) and assume Mass a constant quantity. Today Quarks were discovered and if E=mc^2 don't explain that then his theory also come with restriction.
 
  • #13
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Both Explored their own Era and also both have different fields so its hard to campare, (not as easy Feynman Vs Dirac).Newton give their all law for Bulk particles (because Electron not discovered) and assume Mass a constant quantity. Today Quarks were discovered and if E=mc^2 don't explain that then his theory also come with restriction.

You PF name contains "Newton" twice so I rest my case...
 
  • #14
SteamKing
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My vote is Newton. Without Newton, I don't think Einstein would have the mathematics necessary for his work.
 
  • #15
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You PF name contains "Newton" twice so I rest my case...
My PF name has only one n10Newton, N is for my Real Name, 10 is my Rank in International Physics Olympiad and last one Newton.
 
  • #16
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Remember, the OP's (mine) post was who better "revolutionized" physics.
 
  • #17
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Sorry guys, but this was the logical follow up of my previous thread. Your mission, if you choose to take it, is the following: who better "revolutionized" physics, Einstein or Newton? For now we will leave the question this simply, I may push for more clarifications later. Give your reasons.

"Revolutionized" as defined by google says "Verb; Change (something) radically or fundamentally."

In this sense I suppose I would say Einstein because what he did was more about changing what we had rather than inventing something new. Inventing new things is not as much "revolutionizing" as changing existing things is.
 
  • #18
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In this sense I suppose I would say Einstein because what he did was more about changing what we had rather than inventing something new. Inventing new things is not as much "revolutionizing" as changing existing things is.

Wow, someone finally gives us a sensible comment
 
  • #19
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Newton was essentially working with a blank slate.
No, he wasn't. "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

However, he had no competition.
He had no competition because he stands head and shoulders above any other physicist (IMO of course). Einstein doesn't compare; no one does.

I don't even know if I would put Einstein in second position. There are so many others to consider. Before Newton's time, Galileo, Brahmagupta, Archimedes. Between Newton and Einstein, Lagrange, Hamilton, Maxwell. During the 20th century, a whole slew of contenders.

Top slot is easy though. It's Newton.
 
  • #20
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"Revolutionized" as defined by google says "Verb; Change (something) radically or fundamentally."

In this sense I suppose I would say Einstein because what he did was more about changing what we had rather than inventing something new. Inventing new things is not as much "revolutionizing" as changing existing things is.

You could make that same case with Newton though as he changed the way people thought about the world by bringing together all the disparate knowledge of the day under one roof. Before Newton many people had a sense of how things worked in specific cases such as the Romans knowing the torsion law was a cube root and not a square root or Kepler's emperical results on planetary motion.
 
  • #21
WannabeNewton
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There's no question that it is Newton. Einstein doesn't even come close in the presence of the father of physics - Newton. GR might just be the most beautiful and elegant physical theory currently in existence but Newton's contributions stand proudly at the zenith overshadowing the rest.
 
  • #22
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You could make that same case with Newton though as he changed the way people thought about the world by bringing together all the disparate knowledge of the day under one roof. Before Newton many people had a sense of how things worked in specific cases such as the Romans knowing the torsion law was a cube root and not a square root or Kepler's emperical results on planetary motion.

You could, but I didnt. Einstein's base of previous knowledge was necessarily larger than Newton's. And his contributions were much more narrow, revolutionizing theories in physics. Newton's impact was wide and I think less about revolutionizing current knowledge than Einstein's was. That does not minimize Newton's revolutions, it means he shares them with novel inventions (where Einstein perhaps does not). For this reason I might also argue that Newton had a bigger "impact" where Einstein caused more of a "revolution".
 
  • #23
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There's no question that it is Newton.

I beg to differ with you fine folk. I'll state it again, Newton brought to light the obvious, he (pardon the pun) grabbed the low hanging fruit (apples if you must) and operationalized the maths to fit the model. Outstanding, but still just stating the obvious. Einstein, on the other hand, really went out of the box and forced upon us a universe that was not obvious, was not easy. There's a difference there.
 
  • #24
WannabeNewton
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Stating the obvious? Really? It's obvious that in an isotropic, homogenous space a free particle moves in a straight line with constant velocity or is at rest? It's obvious that for every force you exert on an object it exerts a force back with equal magnitude and opposite direction? I would hardly say that is obvious - people just take it for granted. There is nothing a priori in the universe that states things must be this way.
 
  • #25
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I beg to differ with you fine folk. I'll state it again, Newton brought to light the obvious, he (pardon the pun) grabbed the low hanging fruit (apples if you must) and operationalized the maths to fit the model. Outstanding, but still just stating the obvious. Einstein, on the other hand, really went out of the box and forced upon us a universe that was not obvious, was not easy. There's a difference there.

Quite the opposite!! A lot of contemporaries of Einstein were working on ideas of relativity. Einstein was just the first to publish it and to give a nice interpretation. But he really wasn't thinking very much out of the box. Let's say that a lot of the ideas were "in the air" already.

Newton, on the other hand, really revolutionized both physics and mathematics. Saying that it's the "low hanging fruit" is really doing a disservice to Newton his genius.
 
  • #26
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Quite the opposite!! A lot of contemporaries of Einstein were working on ideas of relativity. Einstein was just the first to publish it and to give a nice interpretation. But he really wasn't thinking very much out of the box. Let's say that a lot of the ideas were "in the air" already.

Newton, on the other hand, really revolutionized both physics and mathematics. Saying that it's the "low hanging fruit" is really doing a disservice to Newton his genius.

To add to this point. Newton really came up with a novel theory. Laws like "Everything that is in motion remains in motion" or "Every person exerts a force on the earth" are extremely counterintuitive. It is obvious now since we learn those laws in kindergarten (so to speak).

Back in the middle ages, Aristotle was the source for good science. His works were almost holy. But Aristotle stated that "everything in motion eventually stops moving". So what Newton did was going directly against Aristotle and 1000's of years of established science!
 
  • #27
ZombieFeynman
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Gibbs makes the shortlist for sure.

He is surely my favorite physicist.
 
  • #28
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Back in the middle ages, Aristotle was the source for good science. His works were almost holy. But Aristotle stated that "everything in motion eventually stops moving". So what Newton did was going directly against Aristotle and 1000's of years of established science!

Yeah but, Einstein's adamantcy over defining the speed of light, c, as fundamental really is the single most significant "game changer" in science. My point is that what he did was not obvious. f=ma and all the other stuff Newton did was "inside the box".
 
  • #29
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Yeah but, Einstein's adamantcy over defining the speed of light, c, as fundamental really is the single most significant "game changer" in science. My point is that what he did was not obvious. f=ma and all the other stuff Newton did was "inside the box".

I fundamentally disagree. I think the realization that matter is made of atoms is far more significant.

I'm not taking anything away from Einstein, but there was a lot of mounting experimental evidence suggesting c being constant around the late 1890s and early 1900s.
 
  • #30
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Yeah but, Einstein's adamantcy over defining the speed of light, c, as fundamental really is the single most significant "game changer" in science. My point is that what he did was not obvious. f=ma and all the other stuff Newton did was "inside the box".
Now you are just making blanket statements. This isn't a debate anymore it is just you making up fantastical "facts" about the "game changers" on the spot. Just because you see Einstein's ideas being sensationalized on discovery channel or the science channel doesn't mean his ideas are more revolutionary than those of Newton. The reason so many laymen think Einstein is the most intelligent human being ever is because the entertainment media spoon feeds them into settling for this mindset. There have been far more revolutionary changes effected by others in the history of physics. I would place Newton, Faraday, and Maxwell above him easily.
 
  • #32
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Yeah but, Einstein's adamantcy over defining the speed of light, c, as fundamental really is the single most significant "game changer" in science. My point is that what he did was not obvious. f=ma and all the other stuff Newton did was "inside the box".

It's not really out of the box since Poincarre has the same ideas before Einstein. Furthermore, it wasn't really a surprising hypothesis after the Michelson-Morley experiment.
 
  • #33
ZombieFeynman
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It's not really out of the box since Poincarre has the same ideas before Einstein. Furthermore, it wasn't really a surprising hypothesis after the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Perhaps not surprising, but certainly unpopular. Looking back on the literature of the time, it becomes readily apparent that scientists went to great lengths to avoid getting rid of the aether.

A lesson to be learned for our generation and those ahead of us.
 
  • #34
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To add to this point. Newton really came up with a novel theory. Laws like "Everything that is in motion remains in motion" or "Every person exerts a force on the earth" are extremely counterintuitive. It is obvious now since we learn those laws in kindergarten (so to speak).

Back in the middle ages, Aristotle was the source for good science. His works were almost holy. But Aristotle stated that "everything in motion eventually stops moving". So what Newton did was going directly against Aristotle and 1000's of years of established science!

Newton's first law (conservation of momentum) wasn't all that novel. It was Galileo's Principle of Inertia ("A body moving on a level surface will continue in the same direction at constant speed unless disturbed.") It just got included with Newton's other two laws, since they logically fit together better than learning Galileo's Law of Inertia and Newton's Two Laws of Force.

As to Einstein, there was a lot more to the theory of relativity than just light maintaining a constant speed, no matter how fast of slow the object emitting the light was traveling. It was coming up with laws that were consistent with that fact.

For that matter, Hamilton developing quaternions was as impressive an accomplishment as Newton's Laws of Motion and development of calculus and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. It just didn't have the same impact as Newton's or Einstein's work.

Once you start into which had the greater impact, I think Newton wins.
 
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  • #35
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Furthermore, it wasn't really a surprising hypothesis after the Michelson-Morley experiment.

OMG, you people, don't you get it? It's not about who developed this or that, it's about who defined this or that. There are so many examples of this. One could argue that lionel pauling was the true discoverer of DNA, but he envisioned a triple helix, not a double. Lorentz had all the hardware required for special relativity but he did not define it as so, and he was too much of a woosey to argue about it, as are most insecure mathematical physicists such as myself.
 

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