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The programme is intended to complement unit 6 of the course "Newton and the mechanistic universe", and its script is "both written and presented by the course unit author Dr John He...dley Brooke, of the University of Lancaster, a consultant member of the course team. Four themes run through the programme; the behaviour of the planets of our solar system in their elliptical orbit; the concept of celestial harmony; the notion of God as a mathematician; the formulation of mathematical Laws, based on Kepler's law of planetary motion and Newton's laws of mechanics. The programme sets out to demonstrate that, over a period of twenty years, Newton solved the problem of planetary motion, and proved that he had solved it. He also believed that he had restored the true harmony of the heavens. The setting for the television presentation, the demonstrations and the illustrative material are intended to be reminiscent of the seventeenth century. This is enforced by quotations read by actor, Nicholas Edmett,
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: AMST283, Science and belief: from Copernicus to Darwin
Item code: AMST283; 04
First transmission date: 10-04-1974
Published: 1974
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:15
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Producer: Colin Robinson
Contributors: John Hedley Brooke; Nicholas Edmett
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Astronomy; John Newton; Kepler; Planetary motion
Footage description: Inteoductory sequence shows a portrait of James II. Nicholas Edmett reads from Newton's address to the King on presenting his 'Principia'. Shots of the book. John Hedley Brooke, in a 'seventeenth century' fireside setting, expands on the context of the book. He explains the problem: what force holds the planets on their prescribed paths? and Kepler's discovery of elliptical orbits and their mathematical correlation with distance from the sun. Graphics illustrate Kepler's laws, and Brooke demonstrates with an orrery. Portrait of Kepler: actor reads his remarks on heavenly harmony. Kepler translated this 'harmony' into musical terms, which Brooke demonstrates on the harpsichord. He then explains, using models Kepler's idea of magnetic 'spokes' causing elliptical planetary orbits by attraction and repulsion. Moving on to Newton's laws, he discusses the principle of linear inertia and the principle of mutual gravitation, using a bagatelle and animated captions. Over a portrait of Newton the actor reads a poem praising the mathematical perfection of the heavens. Shots of Newton's house at Woolsthorpe Manor near Grantham; interior and exterior. Brooks discusses the apple legend and other aspects of Newton's biography. Death mask of Newton short quotation from his diary; shots of Trinity College, Cambridge. Brooke reviews problems which still troubled Newton after formulation of his two laws, notably the possibility of a third force acting beside the two already identified, and the state of Kepler's laws. Further animations. Above all the problem of universality which remained long after the publication of the 'Principia'. In conclusion, Brooke explains that Newton's ultimate justification for universality was a theological one. Credits, Poem read over: shots of revolving orrery.
Master spool number: 6HT/71190
Production number: 00525_3112
Videofinder number: 3352
Available to public: no