Newton’s Time

  • C. K. Raju
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 65)


In the previous chapter, a number of paradoxes concerning time were brought out — deeper problems may yet exist! Here we take up the study of time in Newtonian physics. In the absence of an independent defmition of force and an independent measure of time, Newton’s laws of motion, by themselves, fail to be falsifiable, and hence lack physical content. However, the combination of the laws of motion and the law of gravitation leads to refutable consequences and good physics, because both unknowns may be eliminated. We conclude with a discussion of Laplace’s demon, and point out that standard ways to exorcise the demon lead, in fact, to unpleasant time-symmetric contingents.


Centrifugal Force Newtonian Mechanic Atomic Clock Uniform Motion Planetary Orbit 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    A. K. Raychaudhuri, Classical Mechanics, Clarendon, Oxford, 1984.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For more on Newton’s bucket and Mach’s principle, see F. Hoyle and J. V. Narlikar, Proc. R. Soc., A273, 1 (1963).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a brief description of Milne’s theory see G. J. Whitrow, Natural Philosophy of Time, 2nd ed., (Oxford: Univ. Press, 1980). The original account may be found in E. A. Milne, Z. Astrophys., 6, 1–95 (1933); Proc. R. Soc., A158, 324 (1937).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    K. R. Popper, Realism and the Aim of Science. Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery, Vol. I, Hutchinson, London, 1982.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For the current status of Dirac’s cosmology’and the large number hypothesis, see the papers by L. Halpern, pp 547–560, and J. V. Nârlikar, pp 561–573 in A. O. Barut, A. Van der Merwe and J. -P Vigier (eds), Quantum, Space and Time - the quest continues, Part III: Papers dedicated to P. A. M. Dirac (Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1983–84). For the original account see P. A. M. Dirac, Nature 139, 323 (1937); Proc. R. Soc., A 165, 199 (1938); Proc. R. Soc., A 365, 19 (1979); A Eddington, Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc., 27, 15 (1931).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    K. R. Popper, The Open Universe. An argument for indeterminism. Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery, Vol. II, Hutchinson, London, 1982.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Many original articles on chaos may be found in Hao Bai-Lin, Chaos II (Singapore: World Scientific, 1992). Specific studies on chaos in biological systems may be found in G. Mayer-Kress, Dimensions Entropies in Chaotic Systems ( Berlin: Springer, 1986 ).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    For the conditions under which a differential equation admits a unique global solution see any book on the subject. Easy to read is G. F. Simmons, Differential Equations (N.Y.: McGraw Hill, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Quoted by E. T. Whittaker, History of the Theories ofAether and Electricity Vol. I:• The Classical Theories, Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, 1951.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    These quotations are taken from the biography of Newton in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography,C. C. Gillispie, Editor in Chief, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1981.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. K. Raju
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Advanced StudyRashtrapati NivasShimlaIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Development of Advanced ComputingNew DelhiIndia

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