Laws of motion

Discovered by Isaac Newton

Newton's 1st law of motion

Law of inertia

Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion describes the behavior of a massive body at rest or in uniform linear motion, i.e., not accelerating or rotating. The First Law states, "A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force." 

This simply means that things cannot start, stop or change direction all by themselves. It requires some force acting on them from the outside to cause such a change. While this concept seems simple and obvious to us today, in Newton's time it was truly revolutionary. 

Newton's 2nd law of motion

Law of momentum

This law states, "Force is equal to the change in momentum per change in time. For a constant mass, force equals mass times acceleration." This is written in mathematical form as F = ma


Newton's second law says that when a constant force acts on a massive body, it causes it to accelerate, i.e., to change its velocity, at a constant rate. In the simplest case, a force applied to an object at rest causes it to accelerate in the direction of the force. However, if the object is already in motion, or if this situation is viewed from a moving inertial reference frame, that body might appear to speed up, slow down, or change direction depending on the direction of the force and the directions that the object and reference frame are moving relative to each other.


Newton's 3rd law of motion

Law of


According to Newton, whenever objects A and B interact with each other, they exert forces upon each other. For every action, there is an equal, opposite and instantaneous reaction. 

The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object. The direction of the force on the first object is opposite to the direction of the force on the second object. Forces always come in pairs - equal and opposite action-reaction force pairs. 

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