Who was the creator of principle of inertia

  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. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    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. mathman

    mathman 6,754
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not quite true. Aristotle thought that things would slow down (he didn't consider the role of friction). Galileo preceded Newton.
  5. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    Conservation of momentum is a different thing. I think you need a concept of inertia to propose a violation of momentum conservation.
  6. Philip Wood

    Philip Wood 1,180
    Gold Member

    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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