Celebrating 20 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index N > Sir Isaac Newton Quotes > Planet

Thumbnail of Sir Isaac Newton (source)
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.



Against filling the Heavens with fluid Mediums, unless they be exceeding rare, a great Objection arises from the regular and very lasting Motions of the Planets and Comets in all manner of Courses through the Heavens.
— Sir Isaac Newton
From Opticks: Or, A Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light (1718), 339.
Science quotes on:  |  Against (332)  |  All (4107)  |  Arise (158)  |  Comet (61)  |  Course (408)  |  Exceedingly (28)  |  Filling (6)  |  First Law Of Motion (3)  |  Fluid (52)  |  Great (1575)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  Lasting (7)  |  Manner (58)  |  Medium (12)  |  Motion (312)  |  Objection (32)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Planet (357)  |  Rare (89)  |  Regular (47)  |  Through (849)

And for rejecting such a Medium, we have the Authority of those the oldest and most celebrated Philosophers of Greece and Phoenicia, who made a Vacuum, and Atoms, and the Gravity of Atoms, the first Principles of their Philosophy; tacitly attributing Gravity to some other Cause than dense Matter. Later Philosophers banish the Consideration of such a Cause out of natural Philosophy, feigning Hypotheses for explaining all things mechanically, and referring other Causes to Metaphysicks: Whereas the main Business of natural Philosophy is to argue from Phaenomena without feigning Hypotheses, and to deduce Causes from Effects, till we come to the very first Cause, which certainly is not mechanical; and not only to unfold the Mechanism of the World, but chiefly to resolve these and such like Questions. What is there in places almost empty of Matter, and whence is it that the Sun and Planets gravitate towards one another, without dense Matter between them? Whence is it that Nature doth nothing in vain; and whence arises all that Order and Beauty which we see in the World? ... does it not appear from phaenomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent, who in infinite space, as it were in his Sensory, sees the things themselves intimately, and thoroughly perceives them, and comprehends them wholly by their immediate presence to himself.
— Sir Isaac Newton
In Opticks, (1704, 2nd. Ed. 1718), Book 3, Query 28, 343-5. Newton’s reference to “Nature does nothing in vain” recalls the axiom from Aristotle, which may be seen as “Natura nihil agit frustra” in the Aristotle Quotes on this web site.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Arise (158)  |  Atom (358)  |  Authority (96)  |  Banish (11)  |  Beauty (300)  |  Being (1278)  |  Business (149)  |  Cause (542)  |  Certainly (185)  |  Chiefly (47)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Effect (394)  |  Empty (80)  |  First (1284)  |  God (758)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Greek (107)  |  Himself (461)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Immediate (95)  |  Infinite (233)  |  Intelligent (100)  |  Living (491)  |  Matter (801)  |  Mechanical (140)  |  Mechanism (96)  |  Metaphysics (50)  |  Most (1729)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Philosophy (52)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Omnipresent (3)  |  Order (632)  |  Other (2236)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Philosopher (259)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Planet (357)  |  Presence (63)  |  Principle (510)  |  Question (622)  |  Rejection (34)  |  Resolve (41)  |  See (1082)  |  Sensory (16)  |  Space (501)  |  Sun (387)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Thoroughly (67)  |  Vacuum (39)  |  Vain (83)  |  Wholly (88)  |  World (1778)

For nature is a perpetuall circulatory worker, generating fluids out of solids, and solids out of fluids, fixed things out of volatile, & volatile out of fixed, subtile out of gross, & gross out of subtile, Some things to ascend & make the upper terrestriall juices, Rivers and the Atmosphere; & by consequence others to descend for a Requitall to the former. And as the Earth, so perhaps may the Sun imbibe this spirit copiously to conserve his Shineing, & keep the Planets from recedeing further from him. And they that will, may also suppose, that this Spirit affords or carryes with it thither the solary fewell & materiall Principle of Light; And that the vast aethereall Spaces between us, & the stars are for a sufficient repository for this food of the Sunn and Planets.
— Sir Isaac Newton
Letter to Oldenburg (7 Dec 1675). In H. W. Turnbull (ed.), The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, 1661-1675 (1959), Vol. 1, 366.
Science quotes on:  |  Aether (13)  |  Ascend (30)  |  Atmosphere (103)  |  Circulatory (2)  |  Consequence (207)  |  Descend (47)  |  Earth (998)  |  Fluid (52)  |  Food (199)  |  Former (137)  |  Fuel (33)  |  Imbibed (3)  |  Light (609)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Other (2236)  |  Planet (357)  |  Principle (510)  |  River (121)  |  Solid (116)  |  Space (501)  |  Spirit (265)  |  Star (430)  |  Stars (304)  |  Sufficient (128)  |  Sun (387)  |  Suppose (156)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Vast (178)  |  Will (2354)

In the beginning of the year 1665 I found the Method of approximating series & the Rule for reducing any dignity of any Bionomial into such a series. The same year in May I found the method of Tangents of Gregory & Slusius, & in November had the direct method of fluxions & the next year in January had the Theory of Colours & in May following I had entrance into ye inverse method of fluxions. And the same year I began to think of gravity extending to ye orb of the Moon & (having found out how to estimate the force with wch [a] globe revolving within a sphere presses the surface of the sphere) from Keplers rule of the periodic times of the Planets being in sesquialterate proportion of their distances from the center of their Orbs, I deduced that the forces wch keep the Planets in their Orbs must [be] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about wch they revolve: & thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the earth, & found them answer pretty nearly. All this was in the two plague years of 1665-1666. For in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention & minded Mathematicks & Philosophy more then than at any time since.
— Sir Isaac Newton
Quoted in Richard Westfall, Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton (1980), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  All (4107)  |  Answer (366)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Being (1278)  |  Binomial (6)  |  Calculus (65)  |  Color (138)  |  Differentiation (25)  |  Dignity (42)  |  Direct (225)  |  Distance (163)  |  Earth (998)  |  Entrance (15)  |  Estimate (57)  |  Fluxion (7)  |  Force (488)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Invention (377)  |  Inverse Square Law (4)  |  Johannes Kepler (92)  |  Law Of Gravity (15)  |  Method (506)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Moon (238)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nearly (137)  |  Next (236)  |  Orb (20)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Plague (41)  |  Planet (357)  |  Prime (11)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Revolve (25)  |  Rule (295)  |  Series (149)  |  Sphere (116)  |  Square (70)  |  Surface (209)  |  Surface Of The Earth (36)  |  Tangent (6)  |  Theory (972)  |  Think (1086)  |  Time (1877)  |  Two (937)  |  Year (932)

In the celestial spaces above the Earth’s atmosphere; in which spaces, where there is no air to resist their motions, all bodies will move with the greatest freedom; and the Planets and Comets will constantly pursue their revolutions in orbits … by the mere laws of gravity.
— Sir Isaac Newton
In 'General Scholium' from The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1729), Vol. 2, Book 3, 388.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (349)  |  Air Resistance (2)  |  All (4107)  |  Atmosphere (103)  |  Celestial (53)  |  Comet (61)  |  Earth (998)  |  Freedom (129)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Greatest (329)  |  Law (895)  |  Law Of Gravity (15)  |  Mere (84)  |  Motion (312)  |  Move (216)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Planet (357)  |  Pursue (58)  |  Revolution (129)  |  Space (501)  |  Will (2354)

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)

Seeing therefore the variety of Motion which we find in the World is always decreasing, there is a necessity of conserving and recruiting it by active Principles, such as are the cause of Gravity, by which Planets and Comets keep their Motions in their Orbs, and Bodies acquire great Motion in falling; and the cause of Fermentation, by which the Heart and Blood of Animals are kept in perpetual Motion and Heat; the inward Parts of the Earth are constantly warm'd, and in some places grow very hot; Bodies burn and shine, Mountains take fire, the Caverns of the Earth are blown up, and the Sun continues violently hot and lucid, and warms all things by his Light. For we meet with very little Motion in the World, besides what is owing to these active Principles.
— Sir Isaac Newton
From Opticks, (1704, 2nd ed. 1718), Book 3, Query 31, 375.
Science quotes on:  |  Active (76)  |  All (4107)  |  Animal (617)  |  Blood (134)  |  Burn (87)  |  Cause (542)  |  Cavern (9)  |  Comet (61)  |  Conservation (168)  |  Continue (165)  |  Earth (998)  |  Fall (230)  |  Fermentation (15)  |  Find (999)  |  Fire (189)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Great (1575)  |  Grow (238)  |  Heart (230)  |  Heat (174)  |  Hot (60)  |  Inward (6)  |  Light (609)  |  Little (708)  |  Lucid (9)  |  Motion (312)  |  Mountain (187)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Orb (20)  |  Orbit (82)  |  Owing (39)  |  Perpetual (57)  |  Perpetual Motion (14)  |  Planet (357)  |  Principle (510)  |  Seeing (142)  |  Sun (387)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Variety (133)  |  Volcano (39)  |  Warm (69)  |  World (1778)

So then Gravity may put ye Planets into Motion, but without ye divine Power it could never put them into such a Circulating Motion as they have about ye Sun; & therefore, for this, as well as other Reasons, I am compelled to ascribe ye Frame of this Systeme to an intelligent agent.
— Sir Isaac Newton
Letter to Richard Bently (17 Jan 1693). 189.R.4.47, f. 5A, Trinity College Library, Cambridge.
Science quotes on:  |  Agent (70)  |  Circulate (2)  |  Divine (112)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Intelligent (100)  |  Motion (312)  |  Never (1087)  |  Other (2236)  |  Planet (357)  |  Power (747)  |  Reason (744)  |  Science And Religion (310)  |  Solar System (78)  |  Sun (387)

The motions of the Comets are exceeding regular, are govern’d by the same laws with the motions of the Planets,… with very eccentric motions through all parts of the heavens indifferently.
— Sir Isaac Newton
In 'General Scholium' from The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1729), Vol. 2, Book 3, 387.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Comet (61)  |  Eccentric (11)  |  Govern (65)  |  Governed (4)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  Law (895)  |  Law Of Gravity (15)  |  Motion (312)  |  Planet (357)  |  Regular (47)  |  Through (849)

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.
— Sir Isaac Newton
In The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1729), Vol. 2, 388.
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Being (1278)  |  Comet (61)  |  Counsel (11)  |  Dominion (11)  |  Intelligent (100)  |  Most (1729)  |  Planet (357)  |  Powerful (139)  |  Proceed (129)  |  Sun (387)  |  System (537)

Thus far I have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the force of gravity, but I have not yet assigned a cause to gravity. Indeed, this force arises from some cause that penetrates as far as the centers of the sun and planets without any diminution of its power to act, and that acts not in proportion to the quantity of the surfaces of the particles on which it acts (as mechanical causes are wont to do) but in proportion to the quantity of solid matter, and whose action is extended everywhere to immense distances, always decreasing as the squares of the distances.
— Sir Isaac Newton
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), 3rd edition (1726), trans. I. Bernard Cohen and Anne Whitman (1999), General Scholium, 943.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (272)  |  Action (328)  |  Arise (158)  |  Assign (13)  |  Cause (542)  |  Centre (28)  |  Decrease (15)  |  Diminution (5)  |  Distance (163)  |  Do (1908)  |  Everywhere (95)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Extend (128)  |  Force (488)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  Immense (86)  |  Indeed (323)  |  Inverse Square Law (4)  |  Law Of Gravity (15)  |  Matter (801)  |  Mechanical (140)  |  Mechanics (132)  |  Particle (196)  |  Penetrate (67)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Planet (357)  |  Power (747)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Quantity (132)  |  Sea (309)  |  Solid (116)  |  Square (70)  |  Sun (387)  |  Surface (209)

Who, by vigor of mind almost divine, the motions and figures of the planets, the paths of comets, and the tides of the seas, his mathematics first demonstrated.
— Sir Isaac Newton
English translation of the epitaph inscribed in Latin on the monument beside his grave in Westminster Abbey. Seen, for example as epigraph, without citation, in Morris Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times (1972), 342. The original Latin is, “Qui, animi vi prope divinâ, Planetarum Motus, Figuras, Cometarum semitas, Oceanique Aestus, Suâ Mathesi facem praeferente Primus demonstravit:” as given in Le journal des sçavans, pour l'année MDCCXXXI (Jul 1731), 438. The words “his mathematics” are missing from most quotes of this epitaph, but have been added by Webmaster for the Latin words “Suâ Mathesi” which are present in the verbatim epitaph.
Science quotes on:  |  Comet (61)  |  Demonstrate (77)  |  Divine (112)  |  Figure (160)  |  First (1284)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Motion (312)  |  Path (145)  |  Planet (357)  |  Sea (309)  |  Tide (34)  |  Vigor (9)


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
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.