Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why did Newton think the apple was pulled, not pushed?

  1. Jun 29, 2015 #1
    i was wondering, instead of thinking the apple was pulled down by some force to earth , why didn't he think that there was a force pushed the apple down from above? , imagine when you leave in that particular year when he was alive.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2015 #2

    ShayanJ

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Reminds me of the horrible (and unnecessary) complication of Ptolemy's model for the universe.
     
  4. Jun 29, 2015 #3

    A.T.

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Newton quantified the force acting bodies in a gravitational field, and that is all you need to predict how the bodies will move. Whether you call it "pulling" or "pushing" is not relevant to physics, as long it's the same force quantitatively.
     
  5. Jun 29, 2015 #4

    CWatters

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I think the answer is that he wasn't just thinking about the apple but planets as well.
     
  6. Jun 29, 2015 #5

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

  7. Jun 29, 2015 #6

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If you assume that gravity is a pull, you end up with a simple theory that correctly predicts not only the behavior of the apple, but also the motion of the planets, the ballistic trajectories of thrown objects, the tides, and many other phenomena. If you assume that gravity is a push, you end up with a complicated theory that correctly predicts nothing (except for making a non-quantitative prediction that dropped objects fall, which isn't exactly a brilliant new discovery).

    Thus, Newton's insight was that we could try thinking in terms of pull instead of push. Then he tried it, and it worked so well that he (and the rest of humanity ever since) have run with it.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Why did Newton think the apple was pulled, not pushed?
  1. Push not pull (Replies: 88)

  2. To push or to pull? (Replies: 6)

  3. Push or pull? (Replies: 1)

Loading...