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Principia mathematica

  1. Oct 31, 2008 #1
    principia mathematica is proposed by Sir Isaac Newton. Actually, what is it about, is there any tutorial on the theory?
     
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  3. Oct 31, 2008 #2

    HallsofIvy

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    "Principia Mathematica" or, more precisely "Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica", "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", was a book written by Newton and published in 1726. It included Newton's laws of motion and the first statement of his gravitational equation.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2008 #3

    arildno

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    It was published the 5th of July, 1687.

    I repeat:
    1687
     
  5. Nov 1, 2008 #4

    HallsofIvy

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    You are right. My eyes must have crossed when I was reading the date!
     
  6. Nov 2, 2008 #5
    what is there in this book(mathematical principles of natural philosophy)?
     
  7. Nov 2, 2008 #6
    I just call it Principia or Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica since I confuse it with the 'other' Principia Mathematica of Russel and Whitehead!

    Newton forwards some basics of scientific thinking and builds upon these philosophically while he presents his mathematical work on dynamics and such.
     
  8. Nov 2, 2008 #7
    can someone explain some of the content or the theory inside this book?
    i was wanted to know whether i can learn something through this book
     
  9. Nov 2, 2008 #8

    arildno

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    Already done by some others.
    No.
    Whatever is of value (a lot) in that book is better explained by modern textbooks.
    Newton's text is of interest only to those who already know, and understand, the issues involved, and who are therefore in a position to appreciate the strength, weaknesses, awkwardnesses, but also the inventiveness of that seminal work.

    It is therefore "only" of historical interest.
     
  10. Nov 2, 2008 #9

    mathwonk

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    i may be wrong, but it seems always useful to me to read the works of genius. it would probably be more helpful than some of the stuff in the calc texts we use in my class. anyway i would not discourage anyone from looking into a great classic text.
     
  11. Nov 2, 2008 #10

    mgb_phys

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    Dover published a nice facsimilie + translation edition.
    It is very hard to follow - there is no calculus, everything is explained in geometry which together with the slightly archaic language make it difficult to relate to modern versions of the laws.
    Remember this was long before Descartes so there is no y=x+..... or even equations as we would know them, everything is described in words and ratios.
     
  12. Nov 2, 2008 #11

    arildno

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    Sure. Because you are in a position to appreciate the genius of Newton.
    A freshman might not be there.
    Hmm..demonstration of elliptical orbits using no calculus at all, but rather nasty, difficult (but brilliantly applied) Euclidean geometry.
    I disagree on this.
    A couple of years from now, sure, but for a novice? Absolutely not.
     
  13. Nov 3, 2008 #12
    I second what mgb_phys and arildno have said.

    However, if you want to have a taste of Newtons Principia you could have a look at the first three lectures (especially the 3rd one, "How Newton Analyzed Planetary Motion", it is full of very scary geometry !) of Spivaks "Elementary Physics from a Mathematicians Viewpoint"

    http://www.math.uga.edu/~shifrin/Spivak_physics.pdf (ca. 800 kByte)

    Note, however, that Spivak tries in a modern and more or less gentle way to explain what Newton said. The original stuff in the Principia is much more brutal and scary (that's what I heard, I'd never dare to touch the thing myself....)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
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