Why Is Newton's First Law Important?

By Antonia Čirjak on June 11 2020 in Science

Air resistance, gravity, and friction, all need to be taken into account when explaining why something is slowing down. These forces influence the velocity of an object.
  • Newton’s first law explains how things move and how forces work on their movement, which makes it an extremely important discovery.
  • If we were to place an object into space, we could observe how it behaves without any external influences.
  • The force that is exerted upon an object can be either external or internal.

Before Newton’s laws explained how the majority of things in the world work to us, people were not aware of why objects were slowing down. They believed that they did so by themselves because they tend to do so. However, people back then did not understand the forces that work in nature or how they work.

Air resistance, gravity, and friction all need to be taken into account when we are trying to explain why something is slowing down. All of these forces influence the velocity of an object. They force it to move, as well as to slow down. Newton’s first law explains all of this.

Newton’s First Law

Newton’s first law states that an object that is at rest continues to remain at rest, and an object that is moving continues to move at constant velocity until an external force acts upon them. This law explains how the constant status quo of motion is preserved. It also made people realize how external forces can influence the way things move. It was quite a revolutionary discovery.

According to this law, there must be a cause for something to change its velocity. This cause is most often an external force. For example, if something is sliding across the floor, it will slow down because of the force of friction. However, if we look at air hockey, for example, the air does not allow the puck to touch the table. This puck will remain at the same constant velocity until a different force acts upon it. For example, it can hit the side of the table, which might make it slow down or go faster in some cases.

Newton’s first law states that an object that is at rest continues to remain at rest, and an object that is moving continues to move at constant velocity until an external force acts upon them.
Newton’s first law states that an object that is at rest continues to remain at rest, and an object that is moving continues to move at constant velocity until an external force acts upon them.

What Is A Force?

To better understand this law, we must learn what a force is. A force is defined as a push or a pull that an object exerts on another object. We call the units of force Newton, and we use the letter N to mark them. 

A force can be external, meaning it comes from outside of the object. A good example of this would be gravity that the Earth exerts on the moon. This type of gravity is an external force exerted by our planet unto the moon. However, the moon also has its own inner gravity that it exerts on its outer crust. This is considered to be an internal force. Our planet has this type of gravity as well. Internal forces that are found within a particular object can’t create any kind of change in the motion of that object.

The Importance

Besides the external and internal forces, we also have the net force. The net force is the total amount of force that is exerted on an object. If multiple forces work on an object, the net force is calculated as the sum of all of these forces. By examining all of this, you can see why this law is extremely important for us. It explains everything that is happening around us in our everyday lives.

It gives meaning to the forces that surround us, and more importantly, a scientific explanation for them. People did not have this knowledge before Newton set his laws. Nowadays, we know how cars work, why buildings don’t collapse, how water flows, all thanks to Newton’s first law. The movement of everything around us is explained by it, and that is the reason why it is so important.

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