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Isaac Newton

Date de naissance: 4. janvier 1643
Date de décès: 20. mars 1727
Autres noms:Sir Isaac Newton

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Isaac Newton est un philosophe, mathématicien, physicien, alchimiste, astronome et théologien anglais, puis britannique. Figure emblématique des sciences, il est surtout reconnu pour avoir fondé la mécanique classique, pour sa théorie de la gravitation universelle et la création, en concurrence avec Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, du calcul infinitésimal. En optique, il a développé une théorie de la couleur basée sur l'observation selon laquelle un prisme décompose la lumière blanche en un spectre visible. Il a aussi inventé le télescope à réflexion composé d'un miroir primaire concave appelé télescope de Newton.

En mécanique, il a établi les trois lois universelles du mouvement qui constituent en fait des principes à la base de la grande théorie de Newton concernant le mouvement des corps, théorie que l'on nomme aujourd'hui « mécanique newtonienne » ou encore « mécanique classique ».

Il est aussi connu pour la généralisation du théorème du binôme et l'invention dite de la méthode de Newton permettant de trouver des approximations d'un zéro d'une fonction d'une variable réelle à valeurs réelles.

Newton a montré que le mouvement des objets sur Terre et des corps célestes sont gouvernés par les mêmes lois naturelles ; en se basant sur les lois de Kepler sur le mouvement des planètes, il développa la loi universelle de la gravitation.

Son ouvrage Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,, publié en 1687, est considéré comme une œuvre majeure dans l'histoire de la science. C'est dans celui-ci qu'il décrit la loi universelle de la gravitation, formule les trois lois universelles du mouvement et jette les bases de la mécanique classique. Il a aussi effectué des recherches dans les domaines de la théologie et de l'alchimie.

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Citations Isaac Newton

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„I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.“

—  Isaac Newton
Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (1855) by Sir David Brewster (Volume II. Ch. 27). Compare: "As children gath'ring pebbles on the shore", John Milton, Paradise Regained, Book iv. Line 330

„Fidelity & Allegiance sworn to the King is only such a fidelity and obedience as is due to him by the law of the land; for were that faith and allegiance more than what the law requires, we would swear ourselves slaves“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: 1. Fidelity & Allegiance sworn to the King is only such a fidelity and obedience as is due to him by the law of the land; for were that faith and allegiance more than what the law requires, we would swear ourselves slaves, and the King absolute; whereas, by the law, we are free men, notwithstanding those Oaths. 2. When, therefore, the obligation by the law to fidelity and allegiance ceases, that by the Oath also ceases... Letter to Dr. Covel Feb. 21, (1688-9) Thirteen Letters from Sir Isaac Newton to J. Covel, D.D. (1848)

„The event will prove the Apocalypse; and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood, will open the old Prophets, and all together will make known the true religion, and establish it. For he that will understand the old Prophets, must begin with this; but the time is not yet come for understanding them perfectly, because the main revolution predicted in them is not yet come to pass.“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: The folly of Interpreters has been, to foretell times and things by this Prophecy, as if God designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the Prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the Prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify mens curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own Providence, not the Interpreters, be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before, will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by providence. For, as the few and obscure Prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming were for setting up the Christian religion, which all nations have since corrupted; so the many and clear Prophecies concerning the things to be done at Christ’s second coming, are not only for predicting but also for effecting a recovery and re-establishment of the long-lost truth, and setting up a kingdom wherein dwells righteousness. The event will prove the Apocalypse; and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood, will open the old Prophets, and all together will make known the true religion, and establish it. For he that will understand the old Prophets, must begin with this; but the time is not yet come for understanding them perfectly, because the main revolution predicted in them is not yet come to pass. In the days of the voice of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the Prophets: and then the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever, Apoc. x. 7. xi. 15. There is already so much of the Prophecy fulfilled, that as many as will take pains in this study, may see sufficient instances of God’s providence: but then the signal revolutions predicted by all the holy Prophets, will at once both turn men’s eyes upon considering the predictions, and plainly interpret them. Till then we must content ourselves with interpreting what hath been already fulfilled. Amongst the Interpreters of the last age there to scarce one of note who hath not made some discovery worth knowing; and thence I seem to gather that God is about opening these mysteries. The success of others put me upon considering it; and if I have done any thing which may be useful to following writers, I have my design. Vol. II, Ch. 1 : Introduction, concerning the time when the Apocalypse was written

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„Were I to assume an hypothesis, it should be this“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: Were I to assume an hypothesis, it should be this, if propounded more generally, so as not to assume what light is further than that it is something or other capable of exciting vibrations of the ether. First, it is to be assumed that there is an ethereal medium, much of the same constitution as air, but far rarer, subtiller, and more strongly elastic.... In the second place, it is to be supposed that the ether is a vibrating medium, like air, only the vibrations much more swift and minute; those of air made by a man's ordinary voice succeeding at more than half a foot or a foot distance, but those of ether at a less distance than the hundredth-thousandth part of an inch. And as in air the vibrations are some larger than others, but yet all equally swift... so I suppose the ethereal vibrations differ in bigness but not in swiftness.... In the fourth place, therefore, I suppose that light is neither ether nor its vibrating motion, but something of a different kind propagated from lucid bodies. They that will may suppose it an aggregate of various peripatetic qualities. Others may suppose it multitudes of unimaginable small and swift corpuscles of various sizes springing from shining bodies at great distances one after the other, but yet without any sensible interval of time.... To avoid dispute and make this hypothesis general, let every man here take his fancy; only whatever light be, I would suppose it consists of successive rays differing from one another in contingent circumstances, as bigness, force, or vigour, like as the sands on the shore... and, further, I would suppose it diverse from the vibrations of the ether.... Fifthly, it is to be supposed that light and ether mutually act upon one another.... æthereal vibrations are therefore the best means by which such a subtile agent as light can shake the gross particles of solid bodies to heat them.

„He gave this and the Prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify mens curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own Providence, not the Interpreters, be then manifested thereby to the world.“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: The folly of Interpreters has been, to foretell times and things by this Prophecy, as if God designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the Prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the Prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify mens curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own Providence, not the Interpreters, be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before, will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by providence. For, as the few and obscure Prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming were for setting up the Christian religion, which all nations have since corrupted; so the many and clear Prophecies concerning the things to be done at Christ’s second coming, are not only for predicting but also for effecting a recovery and re-establishment of the long-lost truth, and setting up a kingdom wherein dwells righteousness. The event will prove the Apocalypse; and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood, will open the old Prophets, and all together will make known the true religion, and establish it. For he that will understand the old Prophets, must begin with this; but the time is not yet come for understanding them perfectly, because the main revolution predicted in them is not yet come to pass. In the days of the voice of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the Prophets: and then the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever, Apoc. x. 7. xi. 15. There is already so much of the Prophecy fulfilled, that as many as will take pains in this study, may see sufficient instances of God’s providence: but then the signal revolutions predicted by all the holy Prophets, will at once both turn men’s eyes upon considering the predictions, and plainly interpret them. Till then we must content ourselves with interpreting what hath been already fulfilled. Amongst the Interpreters of the last age there to scarce one of note who hath not made some discovery worth knowing; and thence I seem to gather that God is about opening these mysteries. The success of others put me upon considering it; and if I have done any thing which may be useful to following writers, I have my design. Vol. II, Ch. 1 : Introduction, concerning the time when the Apocalypse was written

„Thus have we, in the Gospels of Matthew and John compared together, the history of Christ's actions in continual order during five Passovers. John is more distinct in the beginning and end; Matthew in the middle: what either omits, the other supplies.“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: Thus have we, in the Gospels of Matthew and John compared together, the history of Christ's actions in continual order during five Passovers. John is more distinct in the beginning and end; Matthew in the middle: what either omits, the other supplies. The first Passover was between the baptism of Christ and the imprisonment of John, John ii. 13. the second within four months after the imprisonment of John, and Christ's beginning to preach in Galilee, John iv. 35. and therefore it was either that feast to which Jesus went up, when the Scribe desired to follow him, Matth. viii. 19. Luke ix. 51, 57. or the feast before it. The third was the next feast after it, when the corn was eared and ripe, Matth, xii. 1. Luke vi. 1. The fourth was that which was nigh at hand when Christ wrought the miracle of the five loaves, Matth. xiv. 15. John vi. 4, 5. and the fifth was that in which Christ suffered, Matth. xx. 17. John xii. 1. Vol. I, Ch. 11: Of the Times of the Birth and Passion of Christ

„I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses;“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. Letter to Robert Hooke (15 February 1676)

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„But it is not the Æquation, but the Description that makes the Curve to be a Geometrical one.“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: The Antients, as we learn from Pappus, in vain endeavour'd at the Trisection of an Angle, and the finding out of two mean Proportionals by a right line and a Circle. Afterwards they began to consider the Properties of several other Lines. as the Conchoid, the Cissoid, and the Conick Sections, and by some of these to solve these Problems. At length, having more throughly examin'd the Matter, and the Conick Sections being receiv'd into Geometry, they distinguish'd Problems into three Kinds: viz. (1.) Into Plane ones, which deriving their Original from Lines on a Plane, may be solv'd by a right Line and a Circle; (2.) Into Solid ones, which were solved by Lines deriving their Original from the Consideration of a Solid, that is, of a Cone; (3.) And Linear ones, to the Solution of which were requir'd Lines more compounded. And according to this Distinction, we are not to solve solid Problems by other Lines than the Conick Sections; especially if no other Lines but right ones, a Circle, and the Conick Sections, must be receiv'd into Geometry. But the Moderns advancing yet much farther, have receiv'd into Geometry all Lines that can be express'd by Æquations, and have distinguish'd, according to the Dimensions of the Æquations, those Lines into Kinds; and have made it a Law, that you are not to construct a Problem by a Line of a superior Kind, that may be constructed by one of an inferior one. In the Contemplation of Lines, and finding out their Properties, I like their Distinction of them into Kinds, according to the Dimensions thy Æquations by which they are defin'd. But it is not the Æquation, but the Description that makes the Curve to be a Geometrical one.<!--pp.227-228

„Religion is partly fundamental & immutable partly circumstantial & mutable.“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: Religion is partly fundamental & immutable partly circumstantial & mutable. The first was the Religion of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham Moses Christ & all the saints & consists of two parts our duty towards God & our duty towards man or piety & righteousness, piety which I will here call Godliness & Humanity.

„Are not the Rays of Light in passing by the edges and sides of Bodies, bent several times backwards and forwards, with a motion like that of an Eel?“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: Are not the Rays of Light in passing by the edges and sides of Bodies, bent several times backwards and forwards, with a motion like that of an Eel? And do not the three Fringes of colour'd Light... arise from three such bendings? Query 3

„I do not define time, space, place, and motion, as being well known to all.“

—  Isaac Newton
Context: I do not define time, space, place, and motion, as being well known to all. Only I must observe, that the common people conceive those quantities under no other notions but from the relation they bear to sensible objects. And thence arise certain prejudices, for the removing of which it will be convenient to distinguish them into absolute and relative, true and apparent, mathematical and common. Definitions - Scholium

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