The Birth of a New Physics: The 17th-Century Revolution - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-29
The Birth of a New Physics: The 17th-Century Revolution - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Literature Physics Science
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1797 words
15 min read


Bernard Cohen is the author of the book The Birth of a New Physics that was published by (1985). It introduces a new revolution of science because it explains the basic notions that people take for granted. Most of them know that the earth does not stand still, but rotates its axis. However, they have no scientific explanation on why and how the rotation earth and other principles, such as motion occur (Cohen 4). The revolutionary begun in the seventeenth century and they were not only dangerous but also heretical to men who established them. Over centuries there has been conflicting on the interrelationships between science, culture, and religion, creating different views on stationary earth (Cohen 4). The scientific revolution was pioneered by Copernicus, Huygens, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. They courageously reformed the universe into an object (earth) that rotates 100,000 feet a second while revolving 1,000 miles an hour around an object 93 million miles away (Cohen 51). Although the earth moves at a speedy rate, the birds are never blown from the trees and objects fall straight. Individuals think that they know these notions, but they have no comprehensive information about them. In the thirty-five years since it was published, The Birth of a New Physics has become typical in the history of science. It provides an account of the significant scientific revolution and explains that humans exist in a dynamic world, where many unseen reactions and processes take place.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Movement of the Earth

The first chapters cover the physics of the earth’s rotation, where the author changes the mindset of many educated and non-educated individuals who think that the earth is at rest (Cohen 3). Although some people know that the earth moves around the sun once a year and on its orbits every day, they do not know how these events happen (Cohen 3). Most controversial questions concerning the earth movement have been raised by various departments. For instance, if indeed the earth moved, would not an object is thrown straight appear in a different area or why are birds not blown off the trees? (Cohen 10). Previous scientists failed to provide adequate answers to the questions about motion, making people doubt it. The Aristotelian system was the first to develop the concepts of physics where Galileo performed motion experiments using balls of different sizes (Cohen 7). The earth moves about 3,000,000,000 feet per year (Cohen 10).

The old physics is regarded as common sense because it required no training like in modern dynamics. Alexander the great is one of the important figures in the metaphysics (Cohen 12). The natural state of motion was established by Aristotle and Galileo through the introduction of the concept of observation of the universe. The concept of observation helped the Aristotle to discover that an object is in a state of motion if pushed; otherwise, it is at rest. Therefore, the “rest” is the natural state of motion, which all thins exists. According to Aristotle's view, if a book is pushed across the desk, there exists no effect. However, Galileo looks at the matter differently when he performed an experiment using balls on inclined and straight planes. He noted that both of them returned at the same height. The Aristotelian philosophy also states that the heavenly bodies are incorruptible because they have been formed by elements that do not die or decay.

In 1543, Nicolas Copernicus published a book on the earth and the universe titled De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of Celestial Bodies). The book provides a general description of the heliocentric theory and cosmology. Copernicus described that the heavenly bodies are spherical, just like the Earth, and water and land make a single world (Cohen 26). The heavenly bodies experience everlasting circular movements. The earth, as one of the celestial bodies, moves around the sun and its axis. He also provides answers as to why the earth was thought to be central due to its position around the sun and the order of other planets. Copernicus offers theorems of geometry chord and their tables. He also argued that the principles of spherical astronomy that were the basis of his conclusion on the orbital movements of the sun, moon, and wandering stars. Copernicus believed that the word comprised of eight spheres, and the outermost is the motionless fixed starts (Cohen 36). The sun, motionless is at the center and the nine planets revolve around it, but each stays at its sphere. The moon revolves around the earth and these were the motions of the heavenly bodies during the time of Copernicus. However, he failed to explain the observed ostensible motion of the planets without holding a difficult system of epicycles like those of the Ptolemaic system. He adhered to the principles of ancient astronomy, but he radically shifted from geocentric to heliocentric cosmology was the primary motivation for the scientific revolution known as the Copernican revolution (Cohen 52).

Galileo Galilei and the Telescope

The invention of the telescope played a significant role in the evolution of new physics and understanding of the cosmos (Cohen 57). Galileo made several improvements to the telescope to increase its magnifying capability. At a magnified rate from 8x to 20x, he could see heavenly distinctly. In December 1609 and January 1610 he observed the moon, stars, sun, Jupiter, and the phases of Venus (Cohen 58). Galileo published his first observation in March 1610 in a book called Sidereus nuncius (Starry Messenger). He noted that Aristotle's notion of the moon as a translucent perfect sphere was wrong (Cohen 57). The moon was not a perfect celestial object but had features that were similar to earth, for instance, chains of mountains, seas, and valleys. Galileo also observed a line that separated the day and night at the center. The observations made on planet Jupiter showed that it was surrounded by a line of star-like objects known as Jupiter moons. Galileo observed that Venus existed in a sequence of phases. The Ptolemaic model could not account for the phases of Venus, nut the sun-centered Copernican model that explains how planets orbit the Earth. However, Galileo overruled Tycho's model as a superfluous hybrid and used the innovation to combine his support of the Copernican model (Cohen 75). The use of the telescope as a tool in astronomy helped Galileo discover various objects that were unseen through the human eyes.

A New Model, from Galileo to Newton

Galileo was the first physician who established accurate law of motion for masses. He determined that all objects (bodies) move at a similar rate despite their mass or size. Galileo's primary investigations include velocity, force, and inertia. Using the inclined plane he introduced the concept of motion referred to as velocity (speed and direction) (Cohen 86). He determined that force is the cause of movement and rest as the natural state of an object when the magnitude of velocity is zero (Cohen 104). Inertia is the process by which objects resist the change caused by motion. The planetary laws of motion were developed by Kepler using Tycho Brahe’s observations and also the kinematic of orbits. The first law state that the earth travels in an elliptical orbit with the Sun at one focus (Cohen 131). At the highest point of the orbit, the object moves the lowest than at their highest point. The law of equal areas is the second law by Kepler, which states that the radius vector (a linking line between the planet and sun) cuts equal areas. The law of harmonics states that the square of a planet's orbital period is proportionate to its mean distance from the Sun cubed. Isaac Newton expanded both the works of Galileo and Kepler. He improved the association between energy and motion. Newton explained that acceleration is a change in velocity, caused by force. On the other hand, inertia is opposition to change in velocity and it is similar to the mass. Momentum is velocity times mass. Newton also expanded the universal gravitation when he proved that gravity, a force that pulls objects towards the center of the earth is also responsible for the rotation of the solar system (Cohen 237).

Current effects of the Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution played a major role in modern discoveries because scientists use the laws of motions and gravity. Many current and future breakthroughs have been formed based on these scientific principles. Since the seventeenth century, fields such as biology, physics, astronomy, and chemistry have made numerous discoveries to improve the understanding of human and heavenly bodies. In the biology field, the effects of the scientific revolution have helped in the analysis of the body physiology to determine how the human body functions. Scientists have been able to produce medications and vaccines that prevent diseases such as measles. Technological advancements, a key effect of the revolution has helped solve complex issues affecting humanity such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, and climate change. Currently, people do extraordinary things and make conclusions without the intervention of culture and church. For instance, Building the Transcontinental railroad in America, which is a contiguous network of railway trackage that crosses a continental landmass with terminals located at different continental borders and oceans.

One of the largest effects of revolution is the occurrence of astronomy. The field was pioneered by an understanding of math and physics that were developed by Isaac Newton. The explanation of the motions of heavenly bodies led to the development of the calculus filed, which helps astronomers unlock not only planet earth, but also other planets, such as mars (Cohen 230). Many people have visited the moon and astronomers are discovering life hospitability on planet mars.


In conclusion, the book The Birth of a New Physics provides a detailed explanation of the principles of physics and revolution that occurred in the seventeenth century. The discoveries of the revolution were pioneered by Copernicus, Huygens, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. The major study focused on motion, velocity, acceleration, and inertia of moving objects. The rise of the Renaissance introduced major effects not only to the older centuries but also to the current world. Modern science continues to immerge in fields, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and, astronomy. Astronomers continue to discover life chances in other planets and the geologists try to study the impact of human effects on the environment. Today, scientists make a free conclusion without the interventions of church or government unlike the effect of Aristotle in the sixteen and seventeenth centuries. Moreover, the scientific revolution led to the development of rationalism, which helps people to reason and solve complex difficulties. Human beings have the power to discern the truth from numerous myths about the motion and existence of the earth.

Work Cited

Cohen, I. Bernard. The birth of a new physics. WW Norton & Company, 1985.

Cite this page

The Birth of a New Physics: The 17th-Century Revolution - Essay Sample. (2023, Nov 29). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism