Newton Rap
by Matthew Guberman-pfeffer, © 2007
Click here to play the mp3 recording in the background

Isaac Newton
1643 - 1727

Newton immersed ya in the concept of inertia
It's all around ya but it won't hurt ya
Things keep doing what their already doing and that's inertia
But if a net force acts, it will disturb ya

The second law is all about a simple formulation.
To get force multiply Mass and Acceleration.
If that's too much to say,
Try this abbreviation
F = M times A
F = M times A
OK, just a simple formulation

Forces come in pairs
And you feel your fair share
A skydiver feels the force of air
When gravity is balanced it's really quite fair
For every force there's an equal and opposite one in the pair

Got the explanation
Got the formulation
Now go and do the calculation

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This song is about Newton's second law, F = ma, and his third law:

If object A exerts a force on object B, then object B exerts an equal and opposite force on object A.

The song discusses the example of a skydiver. In this case, there are two such action/reaction pairs:
1) The earth exerts a gravitational pull down on the skydiver, and the skydiver exerts an equal and opposite gravitational pull up on the earth. (Because the mass of the skydiver is much less than that of the earth, the acceleration of the skydiver is much greater than that of the earth.)
2) The air exerts a wind force up on the skydiver, and the skydiver exerts and equal and opposite force down on the air.

Once the skydiver reaches "terminal velocity", the force from the air cancels the gravitational force from the earth, but these two forces do not form an action/reaction pair.


The author of this song writes: "The Newton Rap was inspired by my outstanding Physics teacher, Mr. Lipp [of Stratford High School in Connecticut]. He gave the idea and the much needed encouragement to produce the song that became part of an end-of-year project. The song, for me, was a culmination and synthesis of the passion with which Mr. Lipp presented the material."

The author was also inspired by FMA Live, a performance group devoted to getting students excited about physics and Newton's Laws. Check out some of their songs here!  

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