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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index N > Sir Isaac Newton Quotes > Attraction

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Sir Isaac Newton
(25 Dec 1642 - 20 Mar 1727)

English physicist and mathematician who made seminal discoveries in several areas of science, and was the leading scientist of his era.



And thus Nature will be very conformable to her self and very simple, performing all the great Motions of the heavenly Bodies by the Attraction of Gravity which intercedes those Bodies, and almost all the small ones of their Particles by some other attractive and repelling Powers which intercede the Particles. The Vis inertiae is a passive Principle by which Bodies persist in their Motion or Rest, receive Motion in proportion to the Force impressing it, and resist as much as they are resisted. By this Principle alone there never could have been any Motion in the World. Some other Principle was necessary for putting Bodies into Motion; and now they are in Motion, some other Principle is necessary for conserving the Motion.
— Sir Isaac Newton
From Opticks, (1704, 2nd ed. 1718), Book 3, Query 31, 372-3.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Alone (312)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Attractive (24)  |  Conservation (168)  |  Force (488)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Great (1575)  |  Law Of Motion (14)  |  Motion (312)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Never (1087)  |  Other (2236)  |  Particle (196)  |  Power (747)  |  Principle (510)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Receive (114)  |  Rest (281)  |  Self (267)  |  Simple (406)  |  Small (479)  |  Will (2354)  |  World (1778)

By such deductions the law of gravitation is rendered probable, that every particle attracts every other particle with a force which varies inversely as the square of the distance. The law thus suggested is assumed to be universally true.
— Sir Isaac Newton
In Isaac Newton and Percival Frost (ed.) Newton's Principia: Sections I, II, III (1863), 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Attraction (56)  |  Deduction (82)  |  Distance (163)  |  Force (488)  |  Gravitation (71)  |  Inverse Square Law (4)  |  Law (895)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Other (2236)  |  Particle (196)  |  Render (93)  |  Square (70)  |  Universal (189)

Do not electric bodies by friction emit a subtile exhalation or spirit by which they perform their attractions?
— Sir Isaac Newton
As quoted in Roderick W. Home, Electricity and Experimental Physics in Eighteenth-Century Europe (1992), 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Attraction (56)  |  Do (1908)  |  Electric (76)  |  Electricity (160)  |  Emit (15)  |  Friction (14)  |  Perform (121)  |  Spirit (265)

I use the word “attraction” here in a general sense for any endeavor whatever of bodies to approach one another, whether that endeavor occurs as a result of the action of the bodies either drawn toward one other or acting on one another by means of spirits emitted or whether it arises from the action of aether or of air or of any medium whatsoever—whether corporeal or incorporeal—in any way impelling toward one another the bodies floating therein. I use the word “impulse” in the same general sense, considering in this treatise not the species of forces and their physical qualities but their quantities and mathematical proportions, as I have explained in the definitions.
— Sir Isaac Newton
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), 3rd edition (1726), trans. I. Bernard Cohen and Anne Whitman (1999), Book I, Section II, Scholium, 588.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (328)  |  Aether (13)  |  Air (349)  |  Approach (108)  |  Arise (158)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Definition (224)  |  Endeavor (67)  |  Explain (322)  |  Force (488)  |  General (511)  |  Impulse (48)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (580)  |  Occur (150)  |  Other (2236)  |  Physical (508)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Result (678)  |  Sense (770)  |  Species (402)  |  Spirit (265)  |  Treatise (44)  |  Use (766)  |  Way (1216)  |  Whatever (234)  |  Whatsoever (41)  |  Word (622)

Kepler’s laws, although not rigidly true, are sufficiently near to the truth to have led to the discovery of the law of attraction of the bodies of the solar system. The deviation from complete accuracy is due to the facts, that the planets are not of inappreciable mass, that, in consequence, they disturb each other's orbits about the Sun, and, by their action on the Sun itself, cause the periodic time of each to be shorter than if the Sun were a fixed body, in the subduplicate ratio of the mass of the Sun to the sum of the masses of the Sun and Planet; these errors are appreciable although very small, since the mass of the largest of the planets, Jupiter, is less than 1/1000th of the Sun's mass.
— Sir Isaac Newton
In Isaac Newton and Percival Frost (ed.) Newton’s Principia: Sections I, II, III (1863), 216.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (78)  |  Action (328)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Body (537)  |  Cause (542)  |  Complete (204)  |  Consequence (207)  |  Deviation (17)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Disturb (28)  |  Disturbance (31)  |  Due (141)  |  Error (321)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Facts (553)  |  Jupiter (26)  |  Johannes Kepler (92)  |  Largest (39)  |  Law (895)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Mass (157)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Other (2236)  |  Period (198)  |  Planet (357)  |  Ratio (39)  |  Small (479)  |  Solar System (78)  |  Sum (102)  |  Sun (387)  |  System (537)  |  Time (1877)  |  Truth (1062)


See also:
  • 25 Dec - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Newton's birth.
  • Isaac Newton - biography from Famous Men of Science (1889)
  • Isaac Newton - Comments on his “Playing on the Seashore” Quote
  • Isaac Newton - “Playing on the Seashore” illustrated quote - Medium 500px.
  • Isaac Newton - “Playing on the Seashore” illustrated quote - Large 800px.
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “A change in motion” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “A change in motion” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “In experimental philosophy” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “In experimental philosophy” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Standing on the shoulders of giants” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Standing on the shoulders of giants” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Impressed force is the action” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Impressed force is the action” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Inherent force of matter is the power of resisting…” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Inherent force of matter is the power of resisting…” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Plato is my friend” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Plato is my friend” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Colours which appear through the Prism ” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Colours which appear through the Prism ” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Nature does nothing in vain” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Nature does nothing in vain” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “No more causes of natural things should be admitted” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “No more causes of natural things should be admitted” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “God, in the beginning, formed matter” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “God, in the beginning, formed matter” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “The cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Isaac Newton - context of quote “The cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Sir Isaac Newton’s Apple-Tree - debunking the myth, from Historic Ninepins: A Book of Curiosities by John Timbs (1869)
  • Newton and the Dog - debunking the myth about Newton’s dog Diamond.
  • Booklist for Isaac Newton.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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