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Who was the creator of principle of inertia

  1. Feb 14, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    It is really a history question.
    I read that Galileu developed the concept of inertia, but today I knew it from Newton's 1st law. So my question is: Both of them arrived at the idea independently? Was Newton aware about Galileu's work and used the law because it is the basis for his 2nd law F=ma?

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2013 #2


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    Every human, independent of the precise definition of that word in terms of our ancestors, discovers this concept before he/she learns a language.
    Galileo and Newton just made them more accessible to a quantitative analysis.
  4. Feb 14, 2013 #3


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    Not quite true. Aristotle thought that things would slow down (he didn't consider the role of friction). Galileo preceded Newton.
  5. Feb 14, 2013 #4


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    Conservation of momentum is a different thing. I think you need a concept of inertia to propose a violation of momentum conservation.
  6. Feb 14, 2013 #5

    Philip Wood

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    Galileo's notion of inertia seems to have been that bodies in circular motion keep going at constant speed. Descartes seems to have been the first to state that a body maintains its velocity (i.e. speed and direction) unless acted upon by an external force. It's stated, for example, in his 'Meditations' of 1642 (the year Newton was born).
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