A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

by

Stephen Hawking

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Newton’s laws of motion Term Analysis

Sir Isaac Newton overturned Aristotle’s idea that matter has a natural state of rest. Instead, he showed that forces act on objects to accelerate or change their velocity, not to start them moving in the first place. This also overturned the idea of space being absolute.

Newton’s laws of motion Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by Newton’s laws of motion or refer to Newton’s laws of motion. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of A Brief History of Time published in 1988.
Chapter 1 Quotes

It is an interesting reflection on the general climate of thought before the twentieth century that no one had suggested that the universe was expanding or contracting. [...] this may have been due to people’s tendency to believe in eternal truths, as well as the comfort they found in the thought that even though they may grow old and die, the universe is eternal and unchanging.

Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

The Aristotelian tradition also held that one could work out all the laws that govern the universe by pure thought: it was not necessary to check by observation. So no one until Galileo bothered to see whether bodies of different weight did in fact fall at different speeds.

Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Newton was very worried by this lack of absolute position, or absolute space, as it was called, because it did not accord with his idea of an absolute God. In fact, he refused to accept lack of absolute space, even though it was implied by his laws.

Related Characters: Sir Isaac Newton
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Newton’s laws of motion Term Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the term Newton’s laws of motion appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Newton used Galileo's measurements as the foundation for his laws of motion . He deduced that the force (the balls' own weight) was constant, and  this force... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Newton was the first to put this idea forward, in 1687. It is now called Newton's First Law , which states an object's speed will change proportionally to the force that affects it.... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...rest, meaning an object would remain still if no force were acting on it. But Newton's laws of motion tell us there is no one standard of rest. For example, if we... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...the laws of science were the same for all freely moving observers. This brought together Newton's laws of motion and Maxwell's theories on light. No matter how fast they are moving, all... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Newton's laws ended the idea of absolute space and relativity ended the idea of absolute time. If... (full context)