February 26, 2019 - 4:15 am to 5:15 pm (already occurred)

Newton's Third Law, aka the action-reaction law, can be quite confusing to many students, instructors and even to some textbook writers as well. The main reason for this is the unfortunate choice of terminology by Newton in his Principia. Many people think that what Newton meant by "reaction" is the reaction to "action" (which it isn't), and this misunderstanding is prevalent not only in the classroom but in popular media as well. I propose that even though "action" and "reaction" are the terms used by Newton himself (they are the same in Latin), it is high time we abandoned them for better ones that would aid in our own and our students' understanding. I will present my own proposal in this talk, though I suspect there may be better ones, and also propose a new pedagogy which emphasizes the concept of momentum above force in teaching Newton's Laws.

Additional Info

Takeuchi Tatsu homepage

Contact Info

Alice Simmoneau
(413) 542-2251
image of e-mail address@amherst.edu