Who Discovered Centripetal Force?


Quick Answer

Both Isaac Newton and Christiaan Huygens are credited with providing the first scientific and mathematical explanations of the long observed phenomenon of centripetal force. Huygens derived the mathematical formula describing centripetal force in 1659, while Newton defined the scientific concept in his Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1687.

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Full Answer

The formula Huygens wrote for determining centripetal force multiplies an object's mass by the square of its tangential speed and divides the product by its radius of curvature. Newton described the laws of thermodynamics in the publication of his treatise "Principia Mathematica." Huygens described centripetal force as part of larger research into centrifugal force.

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