Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Sir Isaac!

Talk about standing the test of time: Newtonian mechanics continues to be used to accurately predict the behavior of planets, moons, and spacecraft in the Orbiter space flight simulator as well as in computer programs used at JPL and everywhere else in the real world of space operations and astronomy (with minor corrections in some cases from General Relativity). Every time an eclipse is predicted (or a shuttle docks with the ISS for that matter), the mechanics developed by Sir Isaac in the late seventeenth century are proven once again.

This one reason why Newton is considered by many to be the greatest figure in the history of science, and since today is his birthday (December 25, 1642 under the old style calendar, January 4, 1643 by modern reckoning), I decided to give him a little salute. I don't actually celebrate Newtonmas as some do, but whatever your personal choice of winter season holiday or other celebration, I hope you have a good one!

No comments: