Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics

Newton's Gravity

An Introductory Guide to the Mechanics of the Universe

Authors: MacDougal, Douglas W.

  • Concentrates strongly on the historical development of the mathematics and science of orbital motion
  • Uses concrete, interesting problems and case studies to teach and illustrate
  • Explores the surprisingly basic mathematics behind gravity, the most fundamental force that governs the movements of satellites, planets, and the stars
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eBook $69.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-4614-5444-1
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Softcover $89.95
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  • ISBN 978-1-4614-5443-4
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About this Textbook

“Newton’s Gravity” conveys the power of simple mathematics to tell the fundamental truth about nature. Many people, for example, know the tides are caused by the pull of the Moon and to a lesser extent the Sun. But very few can explain exactly how and why that happens. Fewer still can calculate the  actual pulls of the Moon and Sun on the oceans. This book shows in clear detail how to do this with simple tools. It uniquely crosses disciplines – history, astronomy, physics and mathematics – and takes pains to explain things frequently passed over or taken for granted in other books. Using a problem-based approach, “Newton’s Gravity” explores the surprisingly basic mathematics behind gravity, the most fundamental force that governs the movements of satellites, planets, and the stars.

Author Douglas W. MacDougal uses actual problems from the history of astronomy, as well as original examples, to deepen understanding of how discoveries were made and what they mean. “Newton’s Gravity” concentrates strongly on the development of the science of orbital motion, beginning with Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, each of whom is prominently represented. Quotes and problems from Galileo’s Dialogs Concerning Two New Sciences and particularly Newton’s Principia help the reader get inside the mind of those thinkers and see the problems as they saw them, and experience their concise and typically eloquent writing.

This book enables students and curious minds to explore the mysteries of celestial motion without having to know advanced mathematics. It will whet the reader’s curiosity to explore further and provide him or her the tools (mathematical or physical) to do so.

About the authors

Douglas W. MacDougal has a degree in mathematics, with a minor in physics, from the University of Vermont, and is an adjunct professor at Portland State University teaching celestial mechanics and (previously) astronomy. For many years he also taught courses in astronomy and mathematics in Portland’s Saturday Academy, whose classes typically include gifted middle school and high school students. MacDougal is a lifelong amateur astronomer, and he teaches every summer at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) Astronomy Camp in the Oregon desert, showing students the stars through his 18-inch telescope.

Reviews

From the reviews:

 

“It would suit a class in astronomy for non-scientists who know the basic rules of algebra and arithmetic and who are prepared for some quantitative work without the use of advanced mathematics; or an adult evening-education class; or amateur astronomers … who have always wanted to know how to do astronomical calculations. … I give it high marks, and anyone working through it thoroughly will acquire a pretty good knowledge of the subject, so go for it.” (Jeremy B. Tatum, The Observatory, Vol. 133 (1236), October, 2013)

Table of contents (19 chapters)

  • Introduction: The Twin Mysteries of Mass

    MacDougal, Douglas W.

    Pages 1-15

  • Galileo’s Great Discovery: How Things Fall

    MacDougal, Douglas W.

    Pages 17-36

  • Christian Huygens’ Remarkable Pendulum

    MacDougal, Douglas W.

    Pages 37-58

  • The Geometry of the Solar System: Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

    MacDougal, Douglas W.

    Pages 59-82

  • How the Moon Falls Toward the Earth (but Keeps Missing It)

    MacDougal, Douglas W.

    Pages 83-106

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-5444-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $89.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-5443-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Newton's Gravity
Book Subtitle
An Introductory Guide to the Mechanics of the Universe
Authors
Series Title
Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-5444-1
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-5444-1
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-5443-4
Series ISSN
2192-4791
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 433
Number of Illustrations and Tables
9 b/w illustrations, 69 illustrations in colour
Topics