Newton, the great Isaac Newton, only for him, where would we be? Shanks mare perhaps? Newton’s Philsosphiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. It was also described as one of the most inaccessible books ever written, it’s content was definitely esoteric but for those few who could follow it (some accounts claim that the number was as low as three) it was a blinding revelation. It not only explained mathematically the orbits of heavenly bodies, but also identified the attractive force that got them moving in the first place – gravity. And just like that Newton explained how every motion in the universe occurred.
At the heart of the book were Newton’s three laws of gravity – that a thing moves in the direction that it is pushed, that it will keep moving in a straight line until some other force acts to slow or deflect it and that every action has an equal but opposite reaction and his universal law of gravitation – that every object in the universe exerts a tug on every other object. These laws explained so much – ocean movements, planetary motions, classical mechanics (paving the way for modern engineering) – all were revealed by the great Newton. One of its most immediate controversial revelations was the suggestion that the earth was not round – the world were aghast, after all, they had already went through centuries of this palaver. However, according to Newton, the centrifugal force of the Earth’s spin would result in a slight flattening at the poles and a bulging at the equator, which would make the planet slightly oblate.