1687: Principia

Issac Newton’s 1687 publication of Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, more commonly known as Principia, may have been the most important and influential scientific piece of literature of all time.  It’s impact on scientists was enormous and almost immediately introduced a new paradigm in physics. 

Principia was important for its all-encompassing explanation of physics expressed in mathematical form.  Two major ideas were expressed in the book.  First, it stated Newton’s famous laws of motion which form the foundation of classical physics.  Second, it stated Newton’s law of universal gravitation by showing how his inverse square law was perfectly compatible with Kepler’s elliptical planetary orbits.  All of these laws were proven with rigorous mathematical and experimental evidence.

Newtonian mechanics, as his methods came to be called, were important due to its value in everyday life such as engineering, astronomy, industry, agriculture and many other areas.

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