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The Mechanical Universe by Tom M. Apostol, Richard P. Olenick, Steven C. Frautschi

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CHAPTER 7UNIVERSAL GRAVITATION AND CIRCULAR MOTION

    Hitherto we have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the power of gravity, but have not yet assigned the cause of this power. This is certain, that it must proceed from a cause that penetrates to the very centres of the sun and planets, without suffering the least diminution of its force; that operates not according to the quantity of the surfaces of the particles upon which it acts (as mechanical causes used to do), but according to the quantity of the solid matter which they contain, and propagates its virtue on all sides to immense distances, decreasing always as the inverse square of the distances.

    Isaac Newton, Principia (1686)

7.1 THE GENESIS OF AN IDEA

The ...

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