Gauss : Mitos Apel Newton Hanya Untuk Orang Bodoh

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Newton ketiban apel

Bentara.Asia – Kisah apel Newton pertama kali muncul di Voltaire’s Elements de la Philosophie de Newton, yang diterbitkan pada 1738. Ini sebelas tahun sesudah Newton meninggal. Voltaire adalah seorang sinophilia sekaligus pengagum Isaac Newton (1643-1727) . Tetapi satu-satunya sumber untuk cerita apel adalah keponakan Sir Isaac, Catherine Barton Conduitt (1679-1739). Dia dan suaminya, John Conduitt tinggal bersama dan rumah terus Newton dalam menurun tahun.

In the year  [3]  he retired again from Cambridge on account of the plague to his mother  in Lincolnshire & whilst he was musing in a garden it came  <6r>  into his thought that the same power of gravity (which  made an apple fall from the tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from the earth but  must extend much farther than was usually thought – Source : Conduitt’s account of Newton’s life at Cambridge by John Conduitt

Sumber lain adalah dari Rev William Stukely , penulis biografi Newton pada tahun 1752 meskipun tidak pernah di publikasikan sampai tahun 1936. Dalam tulisannya itu Stukely ia pernah menikmati sajian teh di sore hari bersama Newton .Isaac Newton di tengah pohon-pohon apel di Woolsthorpe terkenang “bahwa dia mendapat gagasan tentang gravitasi dari jatuhnya sebuah apel ketika sedanhttp://bentara.asia/wp-admin/post-new.phpg duduk dalam suasana merenung.

after dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden, & drank thea under the shade of some appletrees, only he, & myself. amidst other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. “why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,” thought he to him self: occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a comtemplative mood: “why should it not go sideways, or upwards? but constantly to the earths centre? assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. there must be a drawing power in matter. & the sum of the drawing power in the matter of the earth must be in the earths center, not in any side of the earth. therefore dos this apple fall perpendicularly, or toward the center. if matter thus draws matter; it must be in proportion of its quantity. therefore the apple draws the earth, as well as the earth draws the apple.” – Source William Stukely

Bukti itu sendiri tidak cukup. Karena Stukely tidak melihat sendiri kejadian itu , dan bisa saja ungkapan Newton lebih bersifat metafora. Saya pernah membaca buku Against The Gods – Peter Bernstein . Dalam buku itu di gambarkan , ilmuwan Jerman Karl Friedrich Gauss sangat geli dengan mitos buah apel itu dan memberikan komentar yang cenderung mencemooh.

“Silly! A stupid, officious man asked Newton how he discovered the law of gravitation. Seeing that he had to deal with a child intellect, and wanting to get rid the bore. Newton answered that an apple fell and hit him on the nose. The man went away , fully satisfied and completely enlightened. – Gauss – Source : Against The God – Peter Bernstein.

Tapi mitos buah aple  itu sudah berkembang menjadi sangat populer sampai sekarang. Bahkan menjadi bagian dari novel Da Vinci Code yang sangat populer dan laris itu. Memang saya sependapat dengan Gauss. Mitos itu terlalu mengkerdilkan hasil pemikiran Newton , seolah seorang ilmuwan terbesar di Eropa medieval , melakukan penemuan itu hanya karena ketimpa durian apple .

by shinmen takezo , maret 2010

Bentara.Asia | Bentara Journal

1. Against The Gods – Peter Bernstein

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