Johannes Kepler

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Tom Jones

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
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I am a high school physics student doing a research paper in Johannes
Kepler. My question is whether it is a feasible goal to examine his work and
construct an argument that his work marks a paradigm shift in astronomy and
natural philosophy? My resources are the net, The Watershed by Arthur
Koestler, and History of Astronomy by Dreyer. Any advice is welcome, thank
you. Tom

Gregory Greenman

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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Tom Jones wrote:

Tom,

I'm not sure Kepler's work really represents a paradigm shift. Kepler was
able to derive mathematical relationships that describe the data he obtained
from Tycho Brahe; an observational astronomer. These relationships are
known as Kepler's laws.

If you want a person whose work represents a paradigm shift - then I'd
have to vote for Isaac Newton. Whereas Kepler's laws are basically a
"fit" to the data - Newton was able to show that Kepler's laws can be '
derived mathematically if one assumes that the gravitational force was a
central "inverse square force" - that is the force is directed toward a
center, and the magnitude of the force is inversely proportional to the
square of the distance between the object on which the force acts, and
the force center. Newton explained "why" Kepler's laws held.

In order to derive his gravitational law, Newton also had to invent the
mathematical tool needed for his work - the calculus.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Nathan Urban

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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In article <3872E015...@home.com>, Gregory Greenman <mor...@home.com> wrote:

> If you want a person whose work represents a paradigm shift - then I'd
> have to vote for Isaac Newton.

Though in no way disparaging Newton, I'd have to vote for Galileo, for
the role he played in helping to develop the importance of experiment
in scientific (particularly physical) inquiry. He really popularized
the notion of actually going out and making quantitative measurements
of how things work and then coming up with models to describe them.

Charles Francis

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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In article <dKuc4.842$Px.2...@news.rdc1.md.home.com>, Tom Jones
<drs...@home.com> writes

>I am a high school physics student doing a research paper in Johannes
>Kepler. My question is whether it is a feasible goal to examine his work and
>construct an argument that his work marks a paradigm shift in astronomy and
>natural philosophy? My resources are the net, The Watershed by Arthur
>Koestler, and History of Astronomy by Dreyer. Any advice is welcome, thank
>you. Tom
>
>
Kepler's writings are almost certainly beyond reasonable comprehension.
Even at the time they were noted as inordinately long winded and
convoluted, as he described every wrong idea he had had on his way to
his conclusions. Now you would have a language problem as well. Nor can
he be regarded as a paradigm shift, as he was almost completely ignored
until Newton found a theoretical basis for his results.

--
Regards

Charles Francis
cha...@clef.demon.co.uk


John D. Goulden

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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> I am a high school physics student doing a research paper in Johannes
> Kepler. My question is whether it is a feasible goal to examine his work
and
> construct an argument that his work marks a paradigm shift in astronomy
and
> natural philosophy? My resources are the net, The Watershed by Arthur
> Koestler, and History of Astronomy by Dreyer. Any advice is welcome, thank
> you. Tom

Since others in the group are saying 'nay' to your paradigm shift argument,
I'll argue in favor of it. Kepler's analysis of the orbit of Mars and his
(reluctant) acceptance of elliptical orbits finally broke solar-system
descriptions away from the use of strictly circular motions (and compounded
circles on circles on circles, epicycles, deferents, and so on) in the
Ptolemic (geocentric) and Copernican (heliocentric) views, which paved the
way for Newton and others to develop a description of the solar system based
on a single force rather than on crystal spheres (or whatever). But
regardless of how you decide to proceed, Kepler is certainly an interesting
subject for a paper and I hope you have some fun writing it. If your library
has it, Fred Hoyle's "Astronomy" has a good section on Kepler.

--
Please reply by email as well as to the group.
John D. Goulden
jgou...@snu.edu

srp

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
to
"John D. Goulden" a écrit :

I concur. Kepler's discovery of the elliptical shape of the orbits and
his
suspicion about the inverse square law, as well as Galileo's
understanding
of acceleration were fundamental to Newton's work.

André Michaud
Service de Recherche Pédagogique http://www.microtec.net/srp/

Sammy The Tailor

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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while we are talking about interesting, i believe tycho brahe got his nose cut
off in a fight and had a replacement made out of gold.

cheers


Physhead

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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In article <dKuc4.842$Px.2...@news.rdc1.md.home.com>, "Tom Jones"
<drs...@home.com> writes:

>My question is whether it is a feasible goal to examine [Kepler's] work and


>construct an argument that his work marks a paradigm shift in astronomy

Heck yes. In addition to the resources you mentioned, you also have a public
library. You should find tons of stuff to support your thesis. Kepler had
some weird ideas about "harmony of the spheres" where he related the ratios of
the sizes of the planet's orbits to the ratios between musical notes, and so
forth. (Planets discovered later had orbits whose sizes didn't fit his
scheme!) However, the stuff he got right led the way to a grand scheme of
thinking that has influenced Western civilization to this day.

Herman Trivilino
College of the Mainland
Texas City, Texas, USA

Charles Francis

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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In article <38741B0D...@microtec.net>, srp <s...@microtec.net>
writes

>"John D. Goulden" a écrit :
>>
>> > I am a high school physics student doing a research paper in Johannes
>> > Kepler. My question is whether it is a feasible goal to examine his work

>> > and construct an argument that his work marks a paradigm shift in astronomy
>> > and natural philosophy? My resources are the net, The Watershed by Arthur
>> > Koestler, and History of Astronomy by Dreyer. Any advice is welcome, thank
>> > you. Tom
>>
>> Since others in the group are saying 'nay' to your paradigm shift argument,
>> I'll argue in favor of it. Kepler's analysis of the orbit of Mars and his
>> (reluctant) acceptance of elliptical orbits finally broke solar-system
>> descriptions away from the use of strictly circular motions (and compounded
>> circles on circles on circles, epicycles, deferents, and so on) in the
>> Ptolemic (geocentric) and Copernican (heliocentric) views, which paved the
>> way for Newton and others to develop a description of the solar system based
>> on a single force rather than on crystal spheres (or whatever). But
>> regardless of how you decide to proceed, Kepler is certainly an interesting
>> subject for a paper and I hope you have some fun writing it. If your library
>> has it, Fred Hoyle's "Astronomy" has a good section on Kepler.
>
>I concur. Kepler's discovery of the elliptical shape of the orbits and
>his
>suspicion about the inverse square law, as well as Galileo's
>understanding
>of acceleration were fundamental to Newton's work.
>

Perhaps, but they were buried in a huge morass of half scientific texts
which Newton had to wade through before putting together mechanics.
Finding the laws of motion was more a process of clearing the Aegean
stables of all the other nonsense, than one of basing a model on what
was clearly known. Until Newton predicted Kepler's laws as a theoretical
result, they remained a quirky result of little relevance and unknown
validity.

z@z

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
: = Nathan Urban
:: = Gregory Greenman

:: If you want a person whose work represents a paradigm shift - then


:: I'd have to vote for Isaac Newton.
:
: Though in no way disparaging Newton, I'd have to vote for Galileo, for
: the role he played in helping to develop the importance of experiment
: in scientific (particularly physical) inquiry. He really popularized
: the notion of actually going out and making quantitative measurements
: of how things work and then coming up with models to describe them.

The step from Copernicus (1473-1543) or Galilei (1564-1642) to
Kepler is much bigger than the step from Kepler (1571-1630) to
Newton (1643-1727). When Newton presented his Principia, the paradigm
shift had already taken place. If it had not, then (almost) nobody
would have accepted Newton's work. Newton solved (or only declared to
have solved) the mathematical problem of how universal gravitation
can explain Keplers laws. The concrete notions and laws Newton
created or used in order to do that seem rather questionable to me.

Galilei was an excellent writer and his importance lies primarily
in popularizing the Copernican world view and the experimental
method. But if we compare him with Nicolaus Cusanus (1401-1464),
another scientist advocating the experimental method, then Galilei's
world view seems rather archaic. Whereas Cusanus had advocated an
infinite universe where stars are suns, based on the relativity
principle, Galilei still advocated the epicycle gymnastics of the
old greeks and fought the real paradigm shift (introduction of
modern physical laws into astronomy, postulation of universal
gravity) indroduced by Kepler (Kepler's writings precede those of
Galilei).

Kepler also seems to be the first who completely resolved the
puzzle of how the eye works. He even drew the right psychological
conclusions from the fact that the image in the eye is inverted.

He wrote works on optics and mathematics (on infinitesimals and
on logarithms) which, according to Gerald Holton "have direct appeal
for the modern mind".

Newton (and his disciples) tried to give the impression that
Kepler's laws essentially are just lucky guesses made by someone
who did not even know the mathematical tools necessary for dealing
with them.

I assume that also a lot of others had good reasons to spread the
opinion that "Kepler was a nut".

Here a quotation from 'Thematic origins of scientific thought' by
Gerald Holton, Harvard U.Press, 1973, p.76:

"Galilei introduces Kepler's work into his discussion on the
world systems only to scoff at Kepler's notion that the moon
affects the tides, even though Tycho Brahe's data and Kepler's
work based on them had shown that the Copernican scheme which
Galileo was so ardently upholding did not correspond to the
experimental facts of planetary motion. And Newton manages to
remain strangely silent about Kepler throughout Book I and II
of the PRINCIPIA, by introducing the Third Law anonymously as
"the phenomenon of 3/2th power" and the First and Second Laws
as "the Copernican hypothesis". Kepler' three laws have come
to be treated as essentially empirical rules. How far removed
this archievement was from his original ambition!"

This passage also shows that modern science believing in the primacy
of empirical data and experiments is based either on ignorance or on
lies.

Only after the new concepts have been created and assimilated, it is
possible to interpret empirical data as a proof of (a theory based
on) them.

Wolfgang Gottfried G.
http://members.lol.li/twostone/links.html

Message has been deleted

srp

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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Charles Francis a écrit :

>
> In article <38741B0D...@microtec.net>, srp <s...@microtec.net>
> writes
> >"John D. Goulden" a écrit :
> >>
> >> > I am a high school physics student doing a research paper in Johannes
> >> > Kepler. My question is whether it is a feasible goal to examine his work
> >> > and construct an argument that his work marks a paradigm shift in astronomy
> >> > and natural philosophy? My resources are the net, The Watershed by Arthur
> >> > Koestler, and History of Astronomy by Dreyer. Any advice is welcome, thank
> >> > you. Tom
> >>
> >> Since others in the group are saying 'nay' to your paradigm shift argument,
> >> I'll argue in favor of it. Kepler's analysis of the orbit of Mars and his
> >> (reluctant) acceptance of elliptical orbits finally broke solar-system
> >> descriptions away from the use of strictly circular motions (and compounded
> >> circles on circles on circles, epicycles, deferents, and so on) in the
> >> Ptolemic (geocentric) and Copernican (heliocentric) views, which paved the
> >> way for Newton and others to develop a description of the solar system based
> >> on a single force rather than on crystal spheres (or whatever). But
> >> regardless of how you decide to proceed, Kepler is certainly an interesting
> >> subject for a paper and I hope you have some fun writing it. If your library
> >> has it, Fred Hoyle's "Astronomy" has a good section on Kepler.
> >
> >I concur. Kepler's discovery of the elliptical shape of the orbits and
> >his suspicion about the inverse square law, as well as Galileo's
> >understanding of acceleration were fundamental to Newton's work.
> >
>
> Perhaps, but they were buried in a huge morass of half scientific texts

Half scientific! I am not so sure about that. Kepler was very methodical
and his method was sufficiently credible for his results to be
considered
valid, then, and even now.

It depends of course on how we define the word "scientific". But
whatever
definition we give it, it would apply, in my view, to Kepler as well as
to
all his contemporary colleagues.

> which Newton had to wade through before putting together mechanics.
> Finding the laws of motion was more a process of clearing the Aegean
> stables of all the other nonsense, than one of basing a model on what
> was clearly known. Until Newton predicted Kepler's laws as a theoretical
> result, they remained a quirky result of little relevance and unknown
> validity.

That's not what I was led to understand from what I know of the
discussions
that were customary at the Royal Society. From what I know, the clearing
process had been ongoing for quite a while. Kepler's findings were the
talk of the day among mathematicians and astronomers from the day that
they became known. Think! An experimental discovery that all orbits were
elliptical and not circular! Everybody must have been grabing at the
stuff,
either to confirm or tear it to pieces.

What you say though that Newton grounded Keplers experimental result on
a coherent theory is obviously true, but he undertook this only after
accepting a challenge from his friend Halley, who kind of dared him to
do it.

Regards

Marianne Vanhauwaert

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
I couldn't be more complete. But wasn't it Kepler who made the first
telescope
that could show the moons of jupiter? He showed it to the pope and that
really
shocked the world at that moment. The evidence was there with the own eye
that the world wasn't the center of the universe. In this way, you could say
that
Kepler really made some history.
Newton is indeed the grandfather of mathematics and physics. For me he was
even a greater genius then Einstein. But we should not underestimate
Kepler's
work with the knowledge and tools of that century...

Marianne

Dan Drake

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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On Sun, 6 Jan 3900 18:50:53, Marianne Vanhauwaert
<marianne.v...@pandora.be> wrote:

> I couldn't be more complete. But wasn't it Kepler who made the first
> telescope
> that could show the moons of jupiter? He showed it to the pope and that
> really

> shocked the world at that moment....
>

No, it was Galileo. He had a precedence dispute with (I think)
Scheiner, but Galileo wins by a matter of days. The big difference,
of course, was no in having the good-enough telescope (which Kepler
probably didn't at the time -- the one that Galileo later sent him was
the best he had seen) or even in making the observation, but in having
the nerve to conclusions from the new data.

--
Dan Drake
d...@dandrake.com
http://www.dandrake.com


Dan Drake

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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On Sun, 6 Jan 3900 11:31:24, "z@z" <z...@z.lol.li> wrote:

>...


>
> The step from Copernicus (1473-1543) or Galilei (1564-1642) to
> Kepler is much bigger than the step from Kepler (1571-1630) to
> Newton (1643-1727). When Newton presented his Principia, the paradigm
> shift had already taken place. If it had not, then (almost) nobody
> would have accepted Newton's work. Newton solved (or only declared to
> have solved)

Would you like to explain that little parenthetical disparagement of
Newton? He sure convinced a lot of people. Naturally Euler and
Laplace and all cleaned up a lot, but that happens to every great
piece of science.

> the mathematical problem of how universal gravitation
> can explain Keplers laws. The concrete notions and laws Newton
> created or used in order to do that seem rather questionable to me.

They seemed questionable to Bishop Berkeley, too: calculating with the
ghosts of departed quantities, as he described the calculus. But
maybe you and the Bishop just haven't caught up with Newton's paradigm
shift? Seriously, the work needed new theoretical foundations shoved
under it, but this is more a matter of his new paradigm being too big
a shift for even Newton to deal with fully -- not a matter of failing
to be new.

>
> Galilei was an excellent writer and his importance lies primarily
> in popularizing the Copernican world view and the experimental
> method.

This is simply wrong. The work in Two New Sciences, for instance, is
what it claims to be: new science. Galileo _did_ experimental work,
rather than just talk about it, and he united it with theory. The
rest of the 17th century is full of similar work; the 16th is barren
by comparison. This is innovation, and it's unimportant only to the
extent that physics is unimportant.

To say that Galileo's importance was in popularization is to ape the
philosophers who criticized him for writing in Italian instead of
sticking to the language of the professors.

> But if we compare him with Nicolaus Cusanus (1401-1464),
> another scientist advocating the experimental method, then Galilei's
> world view seems rather archaic. Whereas Cusanus had advocated an
> infinite universe where stars are suns, based on the relativity
> principle, Galilei still advocated the epicycle gymnastics of the
> old greeks

Citation? Galileo liked to leave the damn epicycles alone and..

> and fought the real paradigm shift (introduction of
> modern physical laws into astronomy, postulation of universal
> gravity) indroduced by Kepler (Kepler's writings precede those of
> Galilei).

..concentrate on the _physics_ of the matter, treating the entire
universe as subject to uniform rules, which was a new paradigm for
investigating the world.. If he wasn't the first person ever to do
so, he was early enough to get in serious trouble about it. Naturally
he concentrated on physics on a terrestrial scale, since it was
possible to investigate the matter directly. Some people don't seem
to understand that the really dumb arguments of the Peripatetics --
all the bad things that would happen right here if we were really
going 1,000 miles an hour as the Earth spins -- were serious
objections, until there was a proper understanding of physics.

Backtracking -- the contrast above, between Cusanus and Galileo is
hard to understand. It _sounds as if you're saying that Galileo
didn't accept the relativity principle (false, of course) and didn't
think of the stars as suns (false again, of course). As to inifinity,
I don't know that Galileo took a position; if he didn't, it may be a
tribute to his good sense. If Cusanus can claim precedence for those
ideas, good for him. But it still matters how he derived them and
what he did with them. You could do us a favor by expanding on this.

>....


>
> Newton (and his disciples) tried to give the impression that
> Kepler's laws essentially are just lucky guesses made by someone
> who did not even know the mathematical tools necessary for dealing
> with them.

What nonsense. Who says they were lucky guesses? They were
absolutely brilliant empirical work. If you can't make the
disctinction, the problem is in your own philosophical pint of view.

>
>...
>
>...[interesting quote from Gerald Holton snipped. Worth looking up
the book, but it may take a long time. Meanwhile -- ]


>
> This passage also shows that modern science believing in the primacy
> of empirical data and experiments is based either on ignorance or on
> lies.

Huh? I read the passage, and it didn't say that, or imply it. What
it says about empirical data is just that Newton and others were
wrong, maybe dishonest, in not ginving Kepler credit for theoretical
work.

>
> Only after the new concepts have been created and assimilated, it is
> possible to interpret empirical data as a proof of (a theory based
> on) them.

Wait. You seem to be saying: only when you've got a new theory can
you use emprical evidence to prove the theory. True, but
tautological.

The trouble with talking about "the primacy of empirical data and
experiments" is that it tries to force us into a fool's choice between
the Baconian "observation is primary" and the Platonic "theory is
primary" schools. The paradigm shift that Galielo took part in -- and
this time I'm serious in saying that the world hasn't yet caught up
with it -- is the understanding of how to put them together.

srp

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
"z@z" a écrit :

> This passage also shows that modern science believing in the primacy
> of empirical data and experiments is based either on ignorance or on
> lies.

Really!



> Only after the new concepts have been created and assimilated, it is
> possible to interpret empirical data as a proof of (a theory based
> on) them.

In Kepler's case, it seems to me that experimental proof that the
orbits were eliptical invalidated previous theories supporting the
idea that they were circular, even if a theory allowing this new
interpretation had not yet come up. Reality is a tough cookie to
ignore, supporting theory or not, isn't it?

Tom Potter

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
to

z@z <z...@z.lol.li> wrote in message
news:851r12$5fp$1...@pollux.ip-plus.net...

> : = Nathan Urban
> :: = Gregory Greenman
>
> :: If you want a person whose work represents a paradigm shift -
then
> :: I'd have to vote for Isaac Newton.
> :
> : Though in no way disparaging Newton, I'd have to vote for Galileo,
for
> : the role he played in helping to develop the importance of
experiment
> : in scientific (particularly physical) inquiry. He really
popularized
> : the notion of actually going out and making quantitative
measurements
> : of how things work and then coming up with models to describe
them.
>
> The step from Copernicus (1473-1543) or Galilei (1564-1642) to
> Kepler is much bigger than the step from Kepler (1571-1630) to
> Newton (1643-1727). When Newton presented his Principia, the
paradigm
> shift had already taken place.

I suggest that there was an enormous "paradigm shift"
in western Europe about 1400, and what drove this shift
was the invention of the cannon, and what accelerated it
was the invention of the musket.

The cannon was first used by England in 1339 at the siege of Cambrai,
and sometime 1550 the "Snaphaunce" ( The first personal firearm. )
was invented.

Before the use of gunpowder in warfare,
the paradigms all over the globe were pretty much
the same, and that is, people, believed that they
were pawns of the Gods, and God's appointed
leaders on Earth ( Kings and such ), and that they had little
control over their lives. Rather than try to discover
and use the forces of nature, man was content to
observe ( And record ) events, and to try to "augur" the
correlations between events, and in effect
navigate through life trying to follow the course
of least resistance. The Greeks had their oracles,
the Romans had their college of augury and their
Celistine Records which they consulted when faced
with crisis', and of course, the Egyptians, Persians,
Chinese, and other civilizations had their augurs
and fortune tellers.

Ambitious men used the cannon to breakdown the
feudal system, and to create large states. The leaders
who didn't apply this new technology were overpowered by it.
The successful leaders began looking for ways
to use the forces of nature to conquer.
Note that Westerner's used a few firearms to
take over America, and later to march into
Beijing two times.

( As a side note, I must mention, that the invention of the
personal firearm was what made individual freedom and
democracy possible. Until the firearm came along,
the leaders thought they owned the people, and of course,
the common man had to go along with this program. )

The so-called scientists like Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler and
Newton were still, in effect, augurs paid by the state, and
they were basically finding "auguring algorithms" to
correlate causes and effects. Note that they were
looking to correlate events, rather than use the forces
of nature to control nature. It took men like James Watt,
Michael Faraday and Volta to get the idea that they could
make nature do their bidding, and although these two men
were no heavy on the "auguring algorithms" ( Math )
as Newton, Maxwell, etc. they, and the entrepreneurs
and national leaders, who tried to use the forces of
nature, were the ones to change the paradigm
from one of "pawn of the Gods" to "man over nature".

This paradigm shift of man over nature
is still going on in most parts of Asia, as the masses
did not ( And do not ) have the benefit of firearms.
( Before men can take on Gods and nature,
they have to be able to kill God's appointed
leaders ( Kings, presidents, etc. ) here on Earth. )

The unknown man that invented the cannon
created the "Western" paradigm, and the
men who developed low cost firearms
made democracy possible. Newton articulated
the "Western Paradigm" and Thomas Jefferson
articulated the "Democratic Paradigm".

--
Tom Potter http://jump.to/tp

Charles Francis

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
to
In article <851r12$5fp$1...@pollux.ip-plus.net>, z@z <z...@z.lol.li> writes

> "Galilei introduces Kepler's work into his discussion on the
> world systems only to scoff at Kepler's notion that the moon
> affects the tides, even though Tycho Brahe's data and Kepler's
> work based on them had shown that the Copernican scheme which
> Galileo was so ardently upholding did not correspond to the
> experimental facts of planetary motion. And Newton manages to
> remain strangely silent about Kepler throughout Book I and II
> of the PRINCIPIA, by introducing the Third Law anonymously as
> "the phenomenon of 3/2th power" and the First and Second Laws
> as "the Copernican hypothesis". Kepler' three laws have come
> to be treated as essentially empirical rules. How far removed
> this archievement was from his original ambition!"
>
>This passage also shows that modern science believing in the primacy
>of empirical data and experiments is based either on ignorance or on
>lies.

Let that be the epitath of 20th century philosophy of science, and let
us get on with something a little more intelligent in the 21st.

Charles Francis

unread,
Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
to
In article <3874CFE4...@microtec.net>, srp <s...@microtec.net>
writes

>
>> which Newton had to wade through before putting together mechanics.
>> Finding the laws of motion was more a process of clearing the Aegean
>> stables of all the other nonsense, than one of basing a model on what
>> was clearly known. Until Newton predicted Kepler's laws as a theoretical
>> result, they remained a quirky result of little relevance and unknown
>> validity.
>
>That's not what I was led to understand from what I know of the
>discussions
>that were customary at the Royal Society. From what I know, the clearing
>process had been ongoing for quite a while. Kepler's findings were the
>talk of the day among mathematicians and astronomers from the day that
>they became known. Think! An experimental discovery that all orbits were
>elliptical and not circular! Everybody must have been grabing at the
>stuff,
>either to confirm or tear it to pieces.
>
>What you say though that Newton grounded Keplers experimental result on
>a coherent theory is obviously true, but he undertook this only after
>accepting a challenge from his friend Halley, who kind of dared him to
>do it.

I am not myself a historian to have gone back to the source, and I
cannot now remember whose history gave me the version I potted into the
above paragraph, but as I recall, Kepler's results were not subject of
intense interest. The account I heard had Halley speculating quite idly
as to the results of an inverse square law, and Newton, having
calculated the answer, so disinterested that he lost his notes and did
not tell anyone until the subject came up many years later. Halley did
not dare Newton to calculate the orbit, he twisted his arm to write up
and publish work which Newton had carried out years earlier.

I think there is a similar situation now. There is far more intense
interest in crank theories, whether those of acknowledged crackpots or
those of establishment string theorists, than there is in strict logical
understanding of physical theory. Far from wanting to confirm or tear to
pieces new theory, people are more interested in developing their own
bit of theory in the vain hope that their idea may gain acceptance.

Physhead

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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In article <f5ed4.24$ca2....@newsread2.prod.itd.earthlink.net>, "Tom Potter"
<t...@earthlink.net> writes:

>This paradigm shift of man over nature
>is still going on in most parts of Asia, as the masses
>did not ( And do not ) have the benefit of firearms.

Superb discussion, Tom. I remember that when manned space flight was in its
infancy we spoke of "conquering" space. What are your thoughts on the
evolution of this "man over nature" paradigm shift? Are we seeing it come to
an end as we notice that nature has certain ways that cannot be cannot be
controlled? And that Earth is getting polluted?

srp

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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Charles Francis a écrit :


>
> I am not myself a historian to have gone back to the source, and I
> cannot now remember whose history gave me the version I potted into the
> above paragraph, but as I recall, Kepler's results were not subject of
> intense interest. The account I heard had Halley speculating quite idly
> as to the results of an inverse square law, and Newton, having
> calculated the answer, so disinterested that he lost his notes and did
> not tell anyone until the subject came up many years later. Halley did
> not dare Newton to calculate the orbit, he twisted his arm to write up
> and publish work which Newton had carried out years earlier.

Newton "told" Halley that he had made the calculations years earlier
(probably) true) but he could not produce them (lost and/or not covering
all angles, most probably).

From a rather detailed account of what led to Newton writing Principia,
I learned that the Royal Society was directly instrumental in bringing
the situation about. The Royal Society was a kind of social club that
was financed by the king. Oxford graduates tended to meet there each
week with the avowed aim of "encouraging the advancement of philosophies
through study of systems, history and experiences pertaining to
"natural" things, mathematics and mechanics"

The "big boss" was Robert Hooke, and each week, he had to propose
three or four "important" questions. Sir Christopher Wren and Edmund
Halley were very active participants, and these three were litterally
fascinated with how the universe could function. They were particularly
interested by Kepler's results (among other findings, of course), the
big question being, was it an attraction or a repulsion which could
explain the orbits, were they stable, etc.

Among other stuff, Kepler had observed that the speed of the various
planets varied with their distance to the Sun in such a way that the
cube of the radius of the orbits was proportional to the square of the
period. Quite fascinating stuff.

Newton, who was not a member, had hinted in some correspondance with
Halley that he had the answer. But Hooke also boasted that he had a
solution, but without making it public. (Did he really have it? Newton
thought that he did not, hence, _very_ cold relations between the two).

Newton eventually met with Wren, who, to encourage the project,
offered 40 shillings to whoever could bring the solution to him
within 2 months. Who could possibly resist for any amount of time
the lure of such a heap of dough, I wonder!

Newton had already written some papers at the time and was already
well known, and at raucus odds with many, including Hooke.

The deadline came with no results. Then Halley visited Newton,
sometime in the sommer of 84. He did dare Newton to produce the
calculation that would allow explaining the trajectory produced
by the planets, given that the acting force was assumed to be
a function of the inverse of the square of the distance to the
Sun.

Three years later, Principia was published.

Nobody knows where the 40 shillings went. (What a loss!)


> I think there is a similar situation now. There is far more intense
> interest in crank theories, whether those of acknowledged crackpots or
> those of establishment string theorists, than there is in strict logical
> understanding of physical theory.

Experimental verification is the final word. Total agreement.

I must say though that I personally like exploring coherent ideas,
whether they are considered crackpot or not. If they have internal
coherence, I tend to see them as some sorts of imaginative potential
backgrounds for unwritten sci-fi plots. I was a heavy sci-fi reader
when I was young, and I still like the feeling.

> Far from wanting to confirm or tear to
> pieces new theory, people are more interested in developing their own
> bit of theory in the vain hope that their idea may gain acceptance.

Sad reality.

Regards

Tom Potter

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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Physhead <phys...@cs.com> wrote in message
news:20000107080021...@nso-cr.news.cs.com...

First, I consider too little energy,
or thermal pollution ( Too much energy )
to be the limiting factors in man's conquest of nature.

Other kinds of pollution's are temporary problems
that can be solved. In fact, what we call pollution,
is more often than not, simply a temporary
misdistribution of stuff. Today's dump
is tomorrow's treasure.

Along these lines, I have suggested
pumping all of the sewage from the large
eastern cities to some place west,
filtering the water and charging the aquifers,
and saving the stuff which could not
be profitably extracted ( At this time )
for future generations.

Man is a temporary condition,
but his works go on forever.
You might read my article
"God is Nature"
on my web site
for my views on this.

Tom Potter

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
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Tom Potter <t...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:8zud4.1599$ca2....@newsread2.prod.itd.earthlink.net...

Oops! Made a mistake.
The article name is:
"God is Culture".

Robert J. Kolker

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
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Marianne Vanhauwaert wrote:

> I couldn't be more complete. But wasn't it Kepler who made the first
> telescope
> that could show the moons of jupiter? He showed it to the pope and that
> really

> shocked the world at that moment. The evidence was there with the own eye
> that the world wasn't the center of the universe. In this way, you could say
> that
> Kepler really made some history.

You have confused Kepler and Galileo. Galileo is generally thought to be the
first person to use a telescope to observe the heavens.

Kepler used the naked eye data of Tycho de Brahe to determine the ephemiri of
the planets.

Bob Kolker


Mahipal Virdy

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
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srp wrote:

You're intended target English word was literally not "litterally"; though it
also works without disrupting the flow of your very informative post.

> Among other stuff, Kepler had observed that the speed of the various
> planets varied with their distance to the Sun in such a way that the
> cube of the radius of the orbits was proportional to the square of the
> period. Quite fascinating stuff.
>
> Newton, who was not a member, had hinted in some correspondance with
> Halley that he had the answer. But Hooke also boasted that he had a
> solution, but without making it public. (Did he really have it? Newton
> thought that he did not, hence, _very_ cold relations between the two).
>
> Newton eventually met with Wren, who, to encourage the project,
> offered 40 shillings to whoever could bring the solution to him
> within 2 months. Who could possibly resist for any amount of time
> the lure of such a heap of dough, I wonder!
>
> Newton had already written some papers at the time and was already
> well known, and at raucus odds with many, including Hooke.
>
> The deadline came with no results. Then Halley visited Newton,
> sometime in the sommer of 84. He did dare Newton to produce the
> calculation that would allow explaining the trajectory produced
> by the planets, given that the acting force was assumed to be
> a function of the inverse of the square of the distance to the
> Sun.
>
> Three years later, Principia was published.

Time flies.

> Nobody knows where the 40 shillings went. (What a loss!)
>
> > I think there is a similar situation now. There is far more intense
> > interest in crank theories, whether those of acknowledged crackpots or
> > those of establishment string theorists, than there is in strict logical
> > understanding of physical theory.
>
> Experimental verification is the final word. Total agreement.
>
> I must say though that I personally like exploring coherent ideas,
> whether they are considered crackpot or not. If they have internal
> coherence, I tend to see them as some sorts of imaginative potential
> backgrounds for unwritten sci-fi plots. I was a heavy sci-fi reader
> when I was young, and I still like the feeling.
>
> > Far from wanting to confirm or tear to
> > pieces new theory, people are more interested in developing their own
> > bit of theory in the vain hope that their idea may gain acceptance.
>
> Sad reality.

Not sad. Not sad at all. Well, a little sad. Sure.

It is what individuals aspire towards -- to have their ideas be known.
Acceptance is a relative concept on any continent of this planet. To be sure.
One ought bear in mind that ideas are independent of one's personal feelings
regards those who are identifiably originators of interesting intriguing
ideas. Would that one might just discover one new idea to call one's own. One
worthwhile idea, hopefully.

> Regards
>
> André Michaud
> Service de Recherche Pédagogique http://www.microtec.net/srp/

Mahipal


Steven B. Harris

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
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In <38779CA3...@usa.net> "Robert J. Kolker" <bobk...@usa.net>
writes:
>>
>You have confused Kepler and Galileo. Galileo is generally thought to
be the
>first person to use a telescope to observe the heavens.
>
>Kepler used the naked eye data of Tycho de Brahe to determine the
ephemiri of
>the planets.
>
>Bob Kolker


Yep. Tycho had an eye for the planets and a nose for trouble.

john baez

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
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In article <20000106010105...@nso-da.news.cs.com>,
Physhead <phys...@cs.com> wrote:

>Kepler had
>some weird ideas about "harmony of the spheres" where he related the ratios of
>the sizes of the planet's orbits to the ratios between musical notes, and so
>forth. (Planets discovered later had orbits whose sizes didn't fit his
>scheme!) However, the stuff he got right led the way to a grand scheme of
>thinking that has influenced Western civilization to this day.

I think it's worth emphasizing that his "weird" ideas were not, viewed
from his own time, really much weirder than the stuff he got right -
his first ideas just didn't work out too well, so he kept trying different
clever things until he got better ideas. He worked for 20 years trying to
understand the relationship between the planets' periods and their distance
from the sun before finding his Third Law. The question shows up already in
his Mysterium Cosmographicum, which is the 1596 book with lots of "weird"
stuff in it. The Third Law shows up in 1619 in his "Harmonice Mundi".
Later he tried to find a physical basis for the Third Law, but he never
succeeded.

Robert J. Kolker

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
to

"Steven B. Harris" wrote:

> Yep. Tycho had an eye for the planets and a nose for trouble.

No nose is good nose.

Bob Kolker

Mahipal Virdy

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
to

Mahipal Virdy wrote:

> srp wrote:
>
> [...]


> >
> > The "big boss" was Robert Hooke, and each week, he had to propose
> > three or four "important" questions. Sir Christopher Wren and Edmund
> > Halley were very active participants, and these three were litterally
> > fascinated with how the universe could function. They were particularly
> > interested by Kepler's results (among other findings, of course), the
> > big question being, was it an attraction or a repulsion which could
> > explain the orbits, were they stable, etc.
>
> You're intended target English word was literally not "litterally"; though it
> also works without disrupting the flow of your very informative post.
>

Ooops. That should've been the possessive 'Your'. Why me O Lord. Why?

Mahipal "English is a 2nd language to me, practice makes perfect' Virdy

Obviously, "You are intended target" might work as a sentence but the above is
why I don't have Literary Agents knocking down on my doors! Wait there's this
last elusive hope that the error was some slick usage of the derivative symbol?
That might work iff this were perchance some science math group. Think man think.
What are the odds?

s...@microtec.net

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
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In article <3878DD3E...@ex-pressnet.com>,

Mahipal Virdy <mah...@ex-pressnet.com> wrote:
>
>
> Mahipal Virdy wrote:
>
> > srp wrote:
> >
> > [...]
> > >
> > > The "big boss" was Robert Hooke, and each week, he had to propose
> > > three or four "important" questions. Sir Christopher Wren and
> > > Edmund Halley were very active participants, and these three were
> > > litterally fascinated with how the universe could function. They
> > > were particularly interested by Kepler's results (among other
> > > findings, of course), the big question being, was it an attraction
> > > or a repulsion which could explain the orbits, were they stable,
> > > etc.
> >
> > You're intended target English word was literally not "litterally";
> > though it also works without disrupting the flow of your very
> > informative post.
> >
>
> Ooops. That should've been the possessive 'Your'. Why me O Lord. Why?
>
> Mahipal "English is a 2nd language to me, practice makes perfect'
> Virdy

English is a second language to me too, so I guess we will have to
sit side by side on the same penalty bench. What about 2 minutes?

> Obviously, "You are intended target" might work as a sentence but the
> above is why I don't have Literary Agents knocking down on my doors!
> Wait there's this last elusive hope that the error was some slick
> usage of the derivative symbol?
> That might work iff this were perchance some science math group.
> Think man think. What are the odds?

Maybe not so bad. Maybe typos cancel out on physics groups as predicted
by Dirac! Let's cross our fingers!

André Michaud
Service de Recherche Pédagogique http://www.microtec.net/srp/

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

s...@microtec.net

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
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In article <3877CEDD...@ex-pressnet.com>,

Oops! And thank you.

I see your point, and I agree.

In fact, I was not specific enough with my comment. I thought sad the
fact that new theories were generally not examined with the idea of
constructively confirm or "tear to pieces" with reference to objectively
verified properties of matter and energy, not that people tended to come
up with their own bit as far as explaining the universe goes.

To give a real feel of my thinking on this, I recovered part of a
conversation that I had a year ago with Louis Savain, who was _very_
unsatisfied (to say the least) at the way his ideas had been received
when he first aired them on this forum.

------------------------------------------------
Subject: Re: Continuity of time and space
Date: 12/30/1998
Author: srp <s...@microtec.net>

[snip]

srp wrote

Louis Savain wrote

> >[...]
> > > Name calling is the status quo on these groups. If you don't
> > > agree with accepted physics (according to a famous crackpot index
> > > maintained by orthodox physicst/preacher John Baez) you are a
> > > crackpot.
> >
> > I disagree. I never hid the fact that I harbored less than
> > conventionnal ideas about physics. This did not prevent many
> > physicists from kindly and properly answering many of my questions,
> > even though I did not hide the fact either that my math index was
> > not that hot.
>
> Well, according to these folks, the concept of absolute motion has
> gone the way of the flat earth. Anyone who professes a belief in the
> existence of absolute motion is a crackpot in their collective
> opinion. Now, as long as you are asking questions, they will love
> you. They have set themselves as the only legitimate knowledge
> givers in science.

I do not only ask questions. When people question me I usually give an
answer also. If anyone (I do not really know this John Baez) brands
people as crackpots because they try to understand more than what is
already understood, whatever mistake they might make while groping in
the dark, I disapprove.

This is exactly to help those beautiful works of intellectual art that
I have established my "Explorers' Corner" on the SRP site a couple of
years ago.

All of those people deserve to be praised for their effort, and at most,
verified facts that might have escaped them be signaled to them.

If such a site had existed, I would not have established this section
of our site.
------------------------------------------------

Hopefully, this will clear the air as to my view on this. :o]

Regards

André Michaud
Service de Recherche Pédagogique http://www.microtec.net/srp/

Joe Fischer

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
to
s...@microtec.net wrote:
: > srp wrote:
: > > From a rather detailed account of what led to Newton writing

: > > Principia, I learned that the Royal Society was directly
: > > instrumental in bringing the situation about. The Royal Society was
: > > a kind of social club that was financed by the king. Oxford
: > > graduates tended to meet there each week with the avowed aim of
: > > "encouraging the advancement of philosophies through study of
: > > systems, history and experiences pertaining to "natural" things,
: > > mathematics and mechanics"

Will you please reveal the source reference of this
detailed account, why would Newton _need_ a reason to write
the Principia? The book seems more like a lifetime of
work to me, hardly something to "write" because of being prodded.

: > > The "big boss" was Robert Hooke, and each week, he had to propose


: > > three or four "important" questions. Sir Christopher Wren and Edmund
: > > Halley were very active participants, and these three were
: > > litterally fascinated with how the universe could function. They
: > > were particularly interested by Kepler's results (among other
: > > findings, of course), the big question being, was it an attraction
: > > or a repulsion which could explain the orbits, were they stable,
: > > etc.

This is funny, orbits due to "repulsion"? :-)
A big question? I really would like to see the reference
to this detailed account. :-)

Joe Fischer

--
3
3

srp

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Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
to
Mahipal Virdy a écrit :

Oops! And thank you.

I see your point, and I agree.

In fact, I was not specific enough with my comment. I thought sad the
fact
that new theories were generally not examined with the idea of
constructively
confirm or "tear to pieces" with reference to objectively verified
properties
of matter and energy, not that people tended to come up with their own
bit as
far as explaining the universe goes.

To give a real feel of my thinking on this, I recovered part of a
conversation that I had a year ago with Louis Savain, who was _very_
unsatisfied (to say the least) at the way his ideas had been received
when he first aired them on this forum.

------------------------------------------------
Subject: Re: Continuity of time and space
Date: 12/30/1998
Author: srp <s...@microtec.net>

[snip]

srp wrote

Louis Savin wrote

mistake they might make while groping in the dard, I disapprove.


This is exactly to help those beautiful works of intellectual art that I
have
established my "Explorers' Corner" on the SRP site a couple of years
ago.

All of those people deserve to be praised for their effort, and at most,
verified
facts that might have escaped them be signaled to them.

If such a site had existed, I would not have established this section of
our site.
------------------------------------------------

Hopefully, this will clear the air as to my view on this. :o]

Regards

s...@microtec.net

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
In article <3879...@news.iglou.com>,
joe...@iglou.com (Joe Fischer) wrote:
> s...@microtec.net wrote:
> : > srp wrote:
> : > > From a rather detailed account of what led to Newton writing

> : > > Principia, I learned that the Royal Society was directly
> : > > instrumental in bringing the situation about. The Royal Society
> : > > was a kind of social club that was financed by the king. Oxford
> : > > graduates tended to meet there each week with the avowed aim of
> : > > "encouraging the advancement of philosophies through study of
> : > > systems, history and experiences pertaining to "natural" things,
> : > > mathematics and mechanics"
>
> Will you please reveal the source reference of this
> detailed account,

Sure:

It is in French, though. I do not think it was translated to English.

NEWTON, "de la gravitation" suivi de "du mouvement des corps"
Extensive comments by François de Gandt, professor at the Charles-
de-Gaule University
"De gravitatione" translated to French by Marie-Françoise Biarnais
"De Motu" translated to French by François de Gandt
Publishing House: Gallimard, 1995, 261 pages

> why would Newton _need_ a reason to write the Principia?

In my view (simple opinion, because I don't really know) he possibly
thought that publishing the stuff would get him into arguments that
he abhored, and that would divert precious time from his research.
It is well known that he hated any kind of argument and that he easily
lost his temper in such occasions. He tended to avoid triggering
situations (sin, as he saw such reactions. He was a very religious
man).

Descartes thought exactly like that (minus the temper and sin part),
that's why he published only towards the end of his life.

> The book seems more like a lifetime of
> work to me, hardly something to "write" because of being prodded.

Strangely, it seems to have been. Although Newton seems to have had
an unextinguishable thirst for understanding stuff, he didn't seem
to care much whether or not others did.

Much of his research also seems to have been on account of a deep
dislike that he had for Descartes's theories. He was keen on finding
alternate solutions.

There were predecessor "books" though.

"De Gravitatione" (space, bodies and presence of God)

a manuscript probably produced somewhere between 1665 and 1670,
unpublished until the 20th century (Unpublished Scientific Papers...
by A.R. and Mary B. Hall, an english translation is also offered in
the same book.

"De Gravitatione" is not the actual title, there was no title, but
merely the beginning of the original latin text.

There was also "De Motu" (The geometry of forces) a version of which
is also to be found in Hall & Hall.

This one was produced about 15 years later and is a direct precursor
to Principia. Many versions have apparently been produced between 1684
and 1687 each one more detailed than the previous one.

Presently, they look like the first drafts, Principia being born.
This quick succession of drafts seems to support the notion that
he actually produced Principia in 3 years and that it was not a
"lifetime project" as is apparently believed.

The latin-french version I have is the first in line.

The difference in contents between this draft and Principia shows that
he fully developped many of the concepts offered in Principia during
that 3 years period, stuff becoming clearer as he wrote, which will
not surprise you, if you have written yourself.

> : > > The "big boss" was Robert Hooke, and each week, he had to


> : > > propose three or four "important" questions. Sir Christopher
> : > > Wren and Edmund Halley were very active participants, and these
> : > > three were litterally fascinated with how the universe could
> : > > function. They were particularly interested by Kepler's results
> : > > (among other findings, of course), the big question being, was
> : > > it an attraction or a repulsion which could explain the orbits,
> : > > were they stable, etc.
>

> This is funny, orbits due to "repulsion"? :-)
> A big question?

Indeed. But at the time, it seems not to have been so obvious.

> I really would like to see the reference
> to this detailed account. :-)

Here are 2 paragraphs from page 87 of the book I gave as a
reference above, followed by my homegrown translation.

-------------- Original text

"Quelle était cette énigme qui passionnait Halley, Hooke et
Wren? Rien de moins que le «système du monde», comme on
disait (c'est le titre du troisième livre des Principia),
c'est-à-dire l'arrangement de l'univers à grande échelle.

L'idée première était que les planète accomplissent leur
trajet sous l'action d'une certaine force qui les entraîne
vers le soleil. De quelle nature était cette force? On ne
le savait pas trop. Elle pouvait «attirer» les planètes ou
les «pousser». Dans le premier cas, le Soleil lui-même serait
la cause, la source de la force; dans l'autre cas, il serait
simplement, par hasard, au centre géométrique du mécanisme,
sans être la cause du mouvement."

-------------- Translation

"What was this enigma that fascinated Halley, Hooke and Wren?
Nothing less than the «system of the word», so to speak (this
is the title of the third book of the Principia), that is,
the structure of the universe on a large scale.

The basic idea was that the planets moved on their orbits under
the action of a certain force which drew them towards the Sun.
What was the nature of that force? No one really had a clear
idea. It could «attract» the planets or «push» them. In the
first case the Sun itself would be the cause, the source of
the force; in the other case, the Sun would happen to be at
the geometric center of the mechanism by chance, without being
the cause of the motion."

-------------- End of translation

It must be keep in mind that when these discussions took place,
Principia had not yet been written.

Charles Francis

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
In article <3879...@news.iglou.com>, thus spake Joe Fischer
<joe...@iglou.com>
>s...@microtec.net wrote:
>: > srp wrote:
>: > > From a rather detailed account of what led to Newton writing

>: > > Principia, I learned that the Royal Society was directly
>: > > instrumental in bringing the situation about. The Royal Society was
>: > > a kind of social club that was financed by the king. Oxford
>: > > graduates tended to meet there each week with the avowed aim of
>: > > "encouraging the advancement of philosophies through study of
>: > > systems, history and experiences pertaining to "natural" things,
>: > > mathematics and mechanics"
>
> Will you please reveal the source reference of this
>detailed account, why would Newton _need_ a reason to write
>the Principia? The book seems more like a lifetime of

>work to me, hardly something to "write" because of being prodded.

This much I can confirm, though my recollection is slightly hazy. There
is an account in E.T. Bell, Men of Mathematics, which is broadly
similar.

One gauge of Newton's intellect is to reflect that Principia would have
been more than a life times work for an ordinary genius. Before doing
mechanics he had to invent the calculus!

As I recall Newton worked on mechanics prior to the age of 23, and it
was many years later that Halley prodded him into publication. In the
mean time Leibniz published differential calculus. Newton was furious,
because he had developed the differential calculus (his theory of
fluxions) simply in order to develop mechanics, and felt that Leibniz
had stolen the idea. Newton's own fault for not being concerned to
publish. He was perhaps so self centred that far from wanting others to
glorify him for his work, he couldn't even be bothered whether anyone
knew about it.

In addition to working on mechanics, Newton also more or less invented
the science of optics, discovering the properties of the prism, and I
think he was responsible for the theoretical properties of lenses (as
distinct from empirical properties which had already been used to make
spectacles and telescopes), and carried out extensive investigations in
chemistry, categorising the properties of large numbers of chemicals
which again he did not publish, and which were not reproduced for 50-100
years. But in spite of these investigations, each of which would have
been more than enough achievement for most of us, Newton considered that
these were idle past times, and that his real work, the work for which
he would be remembered was theology.

Joe Fischer

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
Charles Francis (cha...@clef.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: Joe Fischer

: >s...@microtec.net wrote:
: >: > srp wrote:
: >: > > From a rather detailed account of what led to Newton writing
: >: > > Principia, I learned that the Royal Society was directly
: >: > > instrumental in bringing the situation about. The Royal Society was
: >
: > Will you please reveal the source reference of this

: >detailed account, why would Newton _need_ a reason to write
: >the Principia? The book seems more like a lifetime of
: >work to me, hardly something to "write" because of being prodded.

: This much I can confirm, though my recollection is slightly hazy. There
: is an account in E.T. Bell, Men of Mathematics, which is broadly
: similar.

Rewriting history is always ongoing.

: One gauge of Newton's intellect is to reflect that Principia would have


: been more than a life times work for an ordinary genius. Before doing
: mechanics he had to invent the calculus!

Usually, in a great work, it is a liftime of effort
and creation that finally is molded. But the Principia
would be such an effort to publish because of the technical
matter and size, it certainly wasn't written and published
in just a few years.

Joe Fischer


Charles Francis

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
In article <387a...@news.iglou.com>, thus spake Joe Fischer
<joe...@iglou.com>
E.T. Bell is generally regarded as authoritative. Clearly Newton had
thought on this in quite some depth many years earlier, and would have
had some note. He also would have thought on it during the interim when
he was concerned principally with the things. Newton actually regarded
Principia as a elementary text, from which he had purged many of his
original methods.

Marianne Vanhauwaert

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
I always mix up names and dates, mea culpa!
(I'm not so sure if no nose is good nose... but in some areas it
can come in handy!) ;-)

Marianne

Joe Fischer

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
Charles Francis (cha...@clef.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: Joe Fischer wrote:
: > Usually, in a great work, it is a liftime of effort

: >and creation that finally is molded. But the Principia
: >would be such an effort to publish because of the technical
: >matter and size, it certainly wasn't written and published
: >in just a few years.
:
: E.T. Bell is generally regarded as authoritative.

Do you mean he wrote about Newton before 1730?

: Clearly Newton had


: thought on this in quite some depth many years earlier, and would have
: had some note. He also would have thought on it during the interim when
: he was concerned principally with the things.

And all the story about 17 years away at the
fancy farm to avoid the plaque isn't true?

The type type of work evident in the Principia
(how many of you have seen a copy of the original?)
is the result of sitting at a desk and spending anywhere
from a day to a week on each page.
Others would try to belittle the work, and some
for such silly reasons as being critical of Newton's
alchemy or theology, manner or competing interests.

: Newton actually regarded


: Principia as a elementary text, from which he had purged many of his
: original methods.

: Charles Francis

Elementary are the best kind, readable, understandable,
and enlightening. Do you have any references for the other
things he published?

Dan Drake

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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On Sun, 9 Jan 3900 09:56:59, "Robert J. Kolker" <bobk...@usa.net>
wrote:

>
>
> "Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>
> > Yep. Tycho had an eye for the planets and a nose for trouble.
>
> No nose is good nose.

He had a perfectly good tin nose.

--
Dan "nobody nose the planets I've seen" Drake
d...@dandrake.com
http://www.dandrake.com


Steven B. Harris

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
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In <1YfR77gdNJ3y-p...@dnai-207-181-236-85.cust.dnai.com>

d...@dandrake.com (Dan Drake) writes:
>
>On Sun, 9 Jan 3900 09:56:59, "Robert J. Kolker" <bobk...@usa.net>
>wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> "Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>>
>> > Yep. Tycho had an eye for the planets and a nose for trouble.
>>
>> No nose is good nose.
>
>He had a perfectly good tin nose.


Probably copper, or at least bronze. Stained his skull green.

Poisso3

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Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to

>>> "Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>>>
>>> > Yep. Tycho had an eye for the planets and a nose for trouble.
>>>
>>> No nose is good nose.
>>
>>He had a perfectly good tin nose.
>
>
> Probably copper, or at least bronze. Stained his skull green.

Didn't he have several noses? Like for different occasions? I remember
reading that he had a silver replacement nose. Funny how he lost his nose,
dulling over a math equation.

James Poisso
Louisiana Tech University

Steven B. Harris

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Jan 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/11/00
to
In <Gg7Y+iAH...@clef.demon.co.uk> Charles Francis
<cha...@clef.demon.co.uk> writes hilariously:

>>"E.T. Bell is generally regarded as authoritative."

Sigh. Eric Temple Bell is about as authoritative as a dime
Western novelist. What can you say about somebody who proves that
mathematicians were really the bodice-ripping brigands we always
suspected they were? ;-? There's Gallois, struggling to glean
his teaming brain and write down all of Gallois-theory overnight,
before the big duel. So what if, in reality, he just put a few
finishing touches on his latest page-proofs? Bell never let
reality stand in the way of a good story.

If it's fiction you're after, I actually would better
recommend Bell's 1950's SF, where he writes fiction unabashedly AS
fiction, under the name of "John Taine." There's a fun Taine
book called _Seeds of Life_ where an advanced X-ray tube pushes
evolution forwards and back, causing chicken eggs to hatch
dinosaurs, and a man to go forward into post-human, much like
David MaCallum's wonderful portrayal of the situation in that
classic _Outer Limits_ (the old series) episode _The Sixth
Finger_ (a clear ripoff of Taine). "What terrors does evolution
have in store for us?" asks the Control Voice. Well, in the
Outer Limits you can count the terrors on your 12 fingers.
Besides an extra finger on each hand, you will also be able to
sight-read Bach and sound like the best of Glenn Gould while
doing it. Simple, really. Also, you get a forehead like the
Metalunans in _This Island Earth_. Pretty scary, you have to
admit. In Taine, by contrast, no big forehead. All you get as a
super-evolved man is perfect health, good looks, no morals, and
genius at physics and math (alas your EQ is zero). Women swoon
over you, anyway. Hey, it's sort of like in _Men of
Mathematics._ <g>.

You'll also recognize the Gary Lockwood role in one of the
better Star Treks ("Soon he'll have as much in common with us as
a ship full of white mice...."). No, we humans are happy with
our lot. We don't want to be a lot smarter or be immortal-- that
always makes monsters, so don't tempt us, Q. Those two trees in
the Garden, see-- you're not supposed to eat from either one.

Another Taine book called _White Lilly_, was pretty clearly
ripped off by Universal for the 1957 Creature Feature _The
Monolith Monsters._ Since 1950's golden age science fiction is
one of my guilty pleasures, I have to recommend this one also.
Whenever I see a huge silicate crystal falling over on somebody
and cutting them to bits, I have fantasies about Dr. Robert
Schuller one day passing from this Earth in a style that truly
befits him....


Steven B. Harris

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Jan 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/11/00
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In <7Eue4.2$sy5.17...@news.bayou.com> "Poisso3"

Probably he did have several, and they buried him with the copper or
brass one, being no fools.

Charles Francis

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Jan 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/11/00
to
In article <85e66e$k1b$1...@nntp2.atl.mindspring.net>, thus spake Steven B.
Harris <sbha...@ix.netcom.com>

>In <Gg7Y+iAH...@clef.demon.co.uk> Charles Francis
><cha...@clef.demon.co.uk> writes hilariously:
>
>>>"E.T. Bell is generally regarded as authoritative."
>
> Sigh. Eric Temple Bell is about as authoritative as a dime
>Western novelist. What can you say about somebody who proves that
>mathematicians were really the bodice-ripping brigands we always
>suspected they were? ;-? There's Gallois, struggling to glean
>his teaming brain and write down all of Gallois-theory overnight,
>before the big duel. So what if, in reality, he just put a few
>finishing touches on his latest page-proofs? Bell never let
>reality stand in the way of a good story.

That is not the story Bell tells. That is a myth which I recently saw
propagated by Kaku (except that it was the whole of group theory), and I
recently checked the account in Bell, which is certainly realistic.
According to Bell, what Galois wrote on the night was his will,
entrusting his executor with the manuscripts containing the beginnings
of Galois theory, and some note on how it should be developed. Perhaps
you should take up your concerns with the Encyclopedia Britanicca who
use Bell as a reference.

john baez

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Jan 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/15/00
to
In article <Gg7Y+iAH...@clef.demon.co.uk>,
Charles Francis <cha...@clef.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>E.T. Bell is generally regarded as authoritative.

Actually, E. T. Bell is usually regarded as fond of passing off
apocryphal stories as unvarnished fact, often embroidering them to
make them more interesting, and sometimes simply making them up.
I don't know about the particular case at hand, but I just wanted
to warn you: E. T. Bell's stuff is fun to read, but don't always
believe it all.


Penny314

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Jan 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/22/00
to
dear joe,
Try any biography of Newton. It is true.
Newton was asked what the central force law would have to be to give an
elliptical orbit and he said " Inverse Square". When asked to produce a proof
he wrote the Principia. It took more than twenty years.
pennysmith

>Message-id: <3879...@news.iglou.com>

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