Newton Of Force and SI Units
Name: Paul J. M.
What is the history of a Newton? (Unit of force) By that I meant who invented the
Newton and how did it come about?
The newton as a unit of force came about as a result of the French
Revolution! The kilogram was defined by mass which was established as a
platinum-iridium cylinder in 1887 and is kept at the Internationals Bureau
of Weights and Measures at Sevres, France. The meter was defined in 1791 as
one ten-millionth the distance from the equator to the north pole along a
longitude that passes through Paris; it is now defined as the distance
travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299792458 seconds. The second was
originally defined by the rotation of the earth, but is now defined as
9,192,631,770 times the period of vibration of radiation from the cesium-133
The newton is the 1 kg m/s^2, using F = ma, where F is in newtons, m in kg,
and a in meters per second squared.
Of course, the importance of the newton was shown by Sir Isaac Newton when
he developed his second law, F = ma, which describes the motion of matter
beautifully until one gets near the speed of light or near the dimensions of
You can get much more information on the web. A good place to start is
NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, at
Best, Dick Plano, Professor of Physics emeritus, Rutgers University.
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Update: June 2012