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Please help Newton!

  1. Sep 17, 2006 #1

    You have most probably heard about the internet phenomenon Wikipedia, now the world's largest, an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. But currently, the article on Newton's laws of motion is in a poor state. It needs your help to get upto shape. You can edit the page by clicking the edit button at the top right of the page (no registration required). You can also edit a particular section by clicking the small edit button to the right of every section header. If you can't format, just dump your writing, someone else will cleanup.

    I reproduce the appeal of a contributor below:-

    "Newton first published his remarkably concise and simple formalism about Nature in 1687. His three Laws of Motion turned out to be far ahead of their time, more accurate than the accuracy of experimental data available to Newton. More than three centuries later, after Classical Mechanics was taken to its climax, considered a dead science and resurrected once more, they remain the prototype of physical theories and high practical utility. More sophisticated reformulations of classical mechanics, while in many ways outstripping Newton's original formulation which seems almost childishly simple compared to the level of mathematical complexity inherent in these formalisms, still lose to Newton's Laws of Motion in terms of practical usefulness because of their failure to model systems with the dissipation approximation.

    It is sad indeed, therefore, to see our article on this remarkable theory of Physics lie neglected. The level of exposition is suited to Children's Learning Library, not a serious encyclopedia. Nothing is mentioned about the significance of inertial reference frames. No reference is made to the interpretation of the first law of motion as a definition, no explanation is given why the first law must be considered independent of and preceding the second law. Detailed discussions are not provided about the validity of the strong and weak forms of the third law in the context of classical electrodynamics. No mention at all of their reformulation without using the concept of force, depending on momentum and energy. Very important topics such as the role of Galilean relativity in Newtonian mechanics and the subsequent need to formulate the formalism of the theory in terms of fiber bundles is absent, as is the role of symplectic spaces.

    My grasp of physics is not advanced enough to undertake these tasks without the fear of mistake, therefore I appeal to you to improve this article. The current state of the article, particularly in comparison with our articles on Lagrangian Mechanics, Hamiltonian Mechanics, Hamilton-Jacobi equation etc, gives the distinct impression that the contributors considered NLM to be a theory without any mathematical beauty or elegance behind it, something only children do. This situation must be rectified, most importantly for students just learning the theory who may visit our pages for an extended perspective and academics who may have lost sight of the theory's remarkable power when faced with the cacophony of alternative theories."

    Thanks for your help.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2006 #2
    That's why nobody votes Newton in the other thread
  4. Sep 18, 2006 #3
    What thread?
  5. Sep 18, 2006 #4


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    Homework Helper

    Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, as is known. If one wants to learn classical mechanics at a more advanced level, he cartainley will not consider Wikipedia as his main source of knowledge. Hence, I think there is no need to 'upgrade' anything, because, if you started to do so, you simply could not stop (in order to keep everything consistent, correct and perfectly correlated), which would make Wikipedia a physical encyclopedia, which it certainly was not meant to be.
  6. Sep 18, 2006 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    When I read this thread in General Physics, I ran it past the general criteria for theads in that forum. Is this thread doing physics... no. What is this thread about... Wiki..Therefore the only place in our forums we should be discussing another web site is GD.
  7. Sep 19, 2006 #6
    Actually Wikipedia is not like conventional encyclopedias. There is a policy called wiki is not paper and there is no limit to details. Its goal is o replace general as well as specialist encyclopedias. If you look at some of the featured physics articles you will find high level of mathematical detail.
  8. Sep 19, 2006 #7


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    May be, but it's still not a a place which I would consider as a serious source of information related to physical and mathematical topics in general. But, this is just my opinion, nothing more. :smile:
  9. Sep 20, 2006 #8
    I have some stuff in wikipedia, don't know what that says about it though.
  10. Sep 20, 2006 #9
    Few have access to good libraries or online repositories.
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