A dolphin is jumping out of water in a curved path over the water.
Figure 4.1 Newton’s laws of motion describe the motion of the dolphin’s path. (Credit: Jin Jang)

Issac Newton and Predicting Motion

Isaac Newton (1642–1727) was a natural philosopher; a great thinker who combined science and philosophy to try to explain the workings of nature on Earth and in the universe. His laws of motion were just one part of the monumental work that has made him legendary. The development of Newton’s laws marks the transition from the Renaissance period of history to the modern era. This transition was characterized by a revolutionary change in the way people thought about the physical universe. Drawing upon earlier work by scientists Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, Newton’s laws of motion allowed motion on Earth and in space to be predicted mathematically. In this chapter you will learn about force as well as Newton’s first, second, and third laws of motion.