The Birth of a New Physics

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1985 - Science - 258 pages
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These are notions so basic to our view of life that we take them for granted. But in the seventeenth century they were revolutionary, heretical, even dangerous to the men who formed them. Culture, religion, and science had intertwined over the centuries to create a world view based on a stationary earth. Indeed, if the earth moved, would not birds be blown off the trees and would not an object thrown straight up come down far away?

Then came the Renaissance and with it Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Huygens, and Newton: giants who courageously remade the world into an earth which actually moves 100,000 feet a second while revolving 1,000 miles an hour around an object 93,000,000 miles away. And yet birds perch unruffled and an apple will fall straight down.

All of this we think we know. But how well do we know it? In the twenty-five years since its first publication, The Birth of a New Physics has become a classic in the history of science. Here expanded by more than one-third and fully updated, it not only offers us the best account of the greatest scientific revolution but also tells us how we can know we live in a dynamic universe.
 

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Contents

THE PHYSICS OF A MOVING EARTH
3
THE OLD PHYSICS
11
THE EARTH AND THE UNIVERSE
24
Copernicus and the Birth of Modern ScienceThe System
50
Uniform Linear MotionA Locomotives Smokestack and a Moving
117
KEPLERS CELESTIAL MUSIC
127
The Ellipse and the Keplerian UniverseThe Three Laws
144
Supplements
185
Galileos Experiments on Free Fall
194
The HypotheticoDeductive Method
207
A Summary of Galileos Major Discoveries in the Science
214
The Analysis of Curvilinear Orbital
218
Proof that an Elliptical Planetary Orbit Follows from
224
Newtons Steps to Universal Gravity
234
A GUIDE TO FURTHER READING
240
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About the author (1985)

I. Bernard Cohen (1914--2003) was Victor S. Thomas Professor, Emeritus, of the History of Science at Harvard University, where he taught from 1942 to 1984. He was the first American to receive the degree of Ph.D. in the History of Science. He was the author of many books, including Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and James Madison; The Science of Benjamin Franklin; Revolution in Science; The Newtonian Revolution; The Birth of a New Physics; and, with Anne Whitman, Isaac Newtonís Principia: A New Translation of Newtonís Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. He edited several series of works, including Harvard Monographs in the History of Science, Three Centuries of Science in America, and the ongoing Studies & Texts in the History of Computing. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Astronomical Society, the British Academy, and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

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