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The Key to Newton's Dynamics: The Kepler Problem and the Principia [Kindle Edition]

J. Bruce Brackenridge

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Book Description

While much has been written on the ramifications of Newton's dynamics, until now the details of Newton's solution were available only to the physics expert. The Key to Newton's Dynamics clearly explains the surprisingly simple analytical structure that underlies the determination of the force necessary to maintain ideal planetary motion. J. Bruce Brackenridge sets the problem in historical and conceptual perspective, showing the physicist's debt to the works of both Descartes and Galileo. He tracks Newton's work on the Kepler problem from its early stages at Cambridge before 1669, through the revival of his interest ten years later, to its fruition in the first three sections of the first edition of the Principia.

Product Description

About the Author

J. Bruce Brackenridge is Alice G. Chapman Professor of Physics at Lawrence University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4779 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (29 Feb. 1996)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003AU4FJO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,468,649 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rise of Universal Gravitation 30 Jun. 2002
By Christopher Jones - Published on
This book examines in detail Newton's solution to the direct Kepler problem: "Given that the planets' orbits are elliptical, what is the dependence of the force on the distance between the sun and the planet?"
Newton's solution is a triumph of mathematical astronomy (Euclid and Apollonius would be proud!). However, Brackenridge notes the difficulty for a general layperson to understand the solution. This book guides you step by step with only the prerequisite that you understand basic geometry. Brackenridge also emphasizes that we look at Newton's work from *his* perspective, not our modern one.
You'll know that you've touched something sacred when you make it through Newton's Preposition 17 (Problem 3 from _On Motion_ in this book). A must for anyone seeking to get an overview of how Newton saw celestial mechanics.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In depth look at dynamics 1 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
This book is well written and everything is explained well. This book, however, is not for the layman. This is a book that one should work though not just read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful guide to Newton's proof of the law of ellipses 6 April 2006
By Viktor Blasjo - Published on
Part 1 gives historical background and discussion of some general features of Newtonian dynamics. Part 2 is the heart of the book: Newton's proofs of Kepler's laws, and of course especially the theorem that planets move in ellipses around the sun. Brackenridge goes through Newton's proofs step by step in great detail. It is quite hopeless for a modern reader to follow these proofs in the Principia, but, as one would expect, with a guide like this it is easy to see the general strategy and follow the steps. But Newton's proofs use a few nontrivial theorems from classical geometry. These were surely known to Newton's readers, but they certainly are not today. Brackenridge doesn't prove these theorems, so if we really want to understand Newton's proof of the law of ellipses (which is "the goal of the book"; p. vii), then we are forced to go look up serious theorems in Euclid and Apollonius. Part 3 discusses Newton's published and unpublished alternative approaches to the problems of planetary motion. Brackenridge argues that the first edition of the Principia is the clearest (in the later editions insights are "hidden in a labyrinth"; p. 209); a translation of the relevant parts is given here as an appendix. It was only in the later editions that Newton added the curvaturesque arguments leading to the "the same otherwise" alternative proofs that we find in the common third edition.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome text for the historical basis that preceded modern physics. 12 Sept. 2014
By StarVoyagerGPS - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent text for those wanting a better understanding of physical mechanics At the same time it helps one appreciate the genius of early scientists and significance of their contributions.
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