1687 In 1687, the English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) published his theories of natural philosophy based on mathematical principles. Ph i losophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (or Principia for short) gave the world the laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. Newton's book explained the natural world in mathematical terms and provided a foundation for physics for the next two centuries.
First published in Latin, Principia was translated into English in 1729. It contains three books: one on gravitational forces and the laws of motion; one on the motions of fluids; and one on how gravity is proportional to mass. The laws offered principles that could be used to explain any number of actions on Earth and in space. They exemplified Newton's ability to explain seemingly contrasting actions using a uniform system. His laws of motion explained moults of Galileo's experiments on falling bodies, s laws of planetary motion, and the ebb and cif the tides. Newton's understanding of Kepler's helped him explain how a centrifugal effect the Earth to bulge around the Equator as as the force a body exerts from its center that keeps a body in orbit.
Newton's application of his equation for the "tational force found between two bodies ered the belief that celestial bodies followed I laws distinct from those operating on Earth since the force applied to all matter in the universe. Ilipouldn't be until 1915 and Albert Einstein's general Meory of relativity that Newton's explanation of gravity was altered. In describing Newton's genius, Einstein said, "Nature to him was an open book, 'whose letters he could read without effort." Newton was one of the greatest thinkers of the Scientific Revolution (1500-1700). In the 150 years or so after Nicolaus Copernicus's publication of On the Revolution of Heavenly Bodies in 1543, modern science emerged, and developments in mathernatics, physics, astronomy, biology, and chemistry transformed views of society and nature. Major figures of this period include German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), who conceived of the laws of planetary motion; French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650), whose Discourse on Method laid out the foundation for modern philosophy; Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), who proposed the wave theory of light; and Anglo-Irish philosopher and chemist Robert Boyle (1627-1691), whose Boyle's Law described the properties of air pressure.
Before this time, philosophy and religion tangoed with science, often resulting in "laws" that had not been tested in any empirical way. Newton pioneered a new system: Carefully observe a phenomenon, form a hypothesis about its behavior, test it by applying known theories, and develop new hypotheses based on the results. Sir Francis Bacon had advocated for the importance of collecting data and Galileo had practiced the tenets of the scientific method, but by describing his experimental method in his 1704 work Opticks, Newton laid the groundwork for scientists to exponentially increase their knowledge. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, academics followed his model to study heat, electricity, magnetism, and chemistry, building their own theories on top of his formidable advancements.