Scientist: We have misinterpreted one of the most important laws of Physics, due to a translation error

2023-09-20 09:23:33Lifestyle SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

The great geniuses of science are because they managed to overcome barriers and create principles and laws of such importance that they end up becoming references for future researchers and scientists. For example, Kepler's laws manage to describe the motion of the planets in the Solar System. However, one of the fathers of physics, Isaac Newton, still has something to explain to us.

Of course, Newton's laws are one of the fundamental pillars of physics, and from them it has been possible to build a grand scheme of how the world around us works. Let's leave aside quantum physics, which is still completely alien to what we experience every day and even mysterious.

However, it seems that we had not correctly interpreted what Sir Isaac Newton wrote in the Law of Inertia, judging by the study published in the journal Philosophy of Science. The law would be summarized as follows: An object will continue to move in a straight line, or remain stationary unless outside forces intervene.

Now, researcher Daniel Hoek claims there is a translation error in the book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which was written in Latin by the British physicist. Danieli assures that already in 1999 the translation of this law could be slightly improved, given that the Latin word 'quatenus', which was translated as 'unless', actually meant 'to the extent'.

And one word can make a big difference, since, according to this professor of philosophy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, we're no longer talking about how an object maintains momentum if there are no forces around it, but about changes in the momentum of a body that is due to external forces.

Of course, at the moment this change in interpretation seems to have not yet penetrated society and the scientific community, as Daniel himself points out, due to a habit that is centuries behind him. It is the researcher himself who stated in the Science Alert medium that:

"Some find my writing too wild and unconventional to take seriously. Others think it is so clearly correct that it is not worth debating."

Perhaps the important thing about the correction is not to rewrite the Law of Inertia, but to make clear what Sir Isaac Newton meant and what the translation mistake left in limbo. It does not make sense that he would have written about bodies without external forces, since in his well-known examples, such as the top being slowed down by air friction, he already describes objects that are bound by them. Newton wrote his first law correctly, although we have been the ones who have not been able to interpret it.