Newton's Principia for the Common Reader

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Clarendon Press, 1995 - Business & Economics - 593 pages
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Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica provides a coherent and deductive presentation of his discovery of the universal law of gravitation. It is very much more than a demonstration that 'to us it is enough that gravity really does exist and act according to the laws which we have explained and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies and the sea'. It is important to us as a model of all mathematical physics. Representing a decade's work from a distinguished physicist, this is the first comprehensive analysis of Newton's Principia without recourse to secondary sources. Professor Chandrasekhar analyses some 150 propositions which form a direct chain leading to Newton's formulation of his universal law of gravitation. In each case, Newton's proofs are arranged in a linear sequence of equations and arguments, avoiding the need to unravel the necessarily convoluted style of Newton's connected prose. In almost every case, a modern version of the proofs is given to bring into sharp focus the beauty, clarity, and breath-taking economy of Newton's methods. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar is one of the most reknowned scientists of the twentieth century, whose career spanned over 60 years. Born in India, educated at the University of Cambridge in England, he served as Emeritus Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, where he has was based from 1937 until his deathin 1996. His early research into the evolution of stars is now a cornerstone of modern astrophysics, and earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983. Later work into gravitational interactions between stars, the properties of fluids, magnetic fields, equilibrium ellipsoids, and black holes has earned him awards throughout the world, including the Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society in London (1953), the National Medal of Science in the United States (1966), and the Copley Medal from the Royal Society (1984). His many publications include Radiative transfer (1950), Hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability (1961), and The mathematical theory of black holes (1983), each being praised for its breadth and clarity. Newton's Principia for the common reader is the result of Professor Chandrasekhar's profound admiration for a scientist whose work he believed is unsurpassed, and unsurpassable.

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Definitions and Axioms
On the notion of limits and the ratios of evanescent quantities
an introduction
The law of areas and some relations which follow
The motion of bodies along conic sections
Keplers equation and its solution
The rectilinear ascent and descent of bodies
The conservation of energy and the initialvalue problem
A digression into Opticks
Introduction to Newtons System of the World Book III
The universal law of gravitation
The figure of the Earth and of the planets
On the theory of tides
The lunar theory
The precession of the equinoxes
On comets

On revolving orbits
A pause
The method of the variation of the elements of a Kepler orbit
the foundations of Newtons lunar theory
The superb theorems
Attraction by nonspherical bodies
The effect of airdrag on the descent of bodies
The solid of least resistance
The problem of the brachistochrone
The velocity of sound and of long waves in canals
A standard treatment of the velocity of sound

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