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Not altogether desperate: An exposition of Newton's Scholium Problem and the theoretical definition of duration

Recording Details

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PIRSA Number: 
10030069

Abstract

In the Scholium in Newton's Principia which contains the discussions about absolute space, time, and the bucket experiment, Newton also posed a problem that Julian Barbour has denoted the "Scholium problem". Newton writes there "But how are we to obtain the true motions from their causes, effects, and apparent differences, and the converse, shall be explained more at large in the following treatise. For to this end it was that I composed it". This problem was clearly considered very important by Newton who claims he wrote the Principia dedicated to this problem. Interestingly Newton never returned to the problem. In this talk we are going to give a mathematical precise formulation of the Scholium problem. A subpart of the Scholium problem consists of determining how accurate the observers clock is. We are going to start from that end and see that the problem of defining duration is inseparately intertwined with the full scholium problem.