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Newton’s 3 Laws, explained in poetry

October 20, 2009

Above: an exuberant Graysen exploring at the Bisti Badlands, in northern New Mexico. As the outing drew to a close, one of our scientist friends remarked that Gray is proof that there is such a thing as perpetual motion…..

The following was written by my grandfather to help his students remember Newton’s three laws of motion.
Decades later, it is still helpful to budding scientists.
Yesterday afternoon, as I was exploring the Bisti with only one kid in tow (the older three were at their dad’s), Soren called my cell to ask me to send this to him so he could use it in a book he was creating for his 9th grade science class. I was out of cell range so didn’t talk with him until this morning. Then, a short scramble and call to my mom later, we had the poem in hand and were ready to help edify the newest generation of scientists.
If this is in any way helpful to you as a parent or teacher, please feel free to use it! Grandpa would be so delighted-he’d grin ear to ear and say “That’s marvelous!”
We miss you, Grandpa. Thanks for helping your great grandkids understand science so many years later…

I. Unless some force applies a nudge,
A body simply will not budge,
But rests if it’s at rest already,
Or else keeps going straight and steady.

II. A body takes a faster ride,
Directly as the force applied.
Double its former mass and you
Divide its previous speed by two.
But, fast or slow, it lays its course
In the direction of the force.

III. Forces — (like some of Adam’s heirs!) —
Though quite opposed, exist in pairs!

Ramsay L. Harris

For another story about Grandpa, click here for my essay

13 Comments leave one →
  1. nunu permalink
    January 5, 2010 4:46 pm

    This was very helpful and it was worth looking up. The peom was nice and useful, too. Thanks!

  2. justin rankin permalink
    April 13, 2010 5:59 pm

    it was totally spectacular!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  3. justin rankin permalink
    April 13, 2010 6:00 pm

    it helped me with my project thanks!!!

  4. December 19, 2010 3:09 pm

    this helped in my science project :] awesome , thanks .

  5. Tamia permalink
    March 8, 2011 10:16 pm

    this helped alot i mean alot im glad i looked this up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Paduday ;D permalink
    November 5, 2011 9:16 pm

    THANKS 😀

    • NON OF UR BEESWAX permalink
      February 12, 2012 6:30 am

      IT WAS VERY HELPFUL 4 ME 2. so i agree with u gurl

  7. Kar permalink
    March 21, 2012 5:50 am

    this was worth using!

  8. February 5, 2013 10:28 am

    helped with project

  9. February 10, 2013 6:00 am

    Your own blog post, “Newtons 3 Laws, explained in poetry
    Non Compos Mentis Mama” was well worth commenting on!
    Just wished to mention you really did a remarkable job.
    Many thanks -Roland

  10. Nina Gilbert permalink
    July 27, 2013 11:10 pm

    Hi! I’m the choir director at the Webb Schools, where your Grandpa taught from (I think) 1945 to 1987. He wrote some of our school songs. I have a photocopy of a handwritten copy of our school fight song and I’m trying to figure out if it’s his handwriting. You know your grandfather’s handwriting, right? If you give me an email address, I’d like to send you a scan of it for you to look at and tell me “probably” or “probably not” about whether it’s his handwriting. Thank you!

  11. Nikkile Bacol permalink
    August 10, 2016 2:18 am

    Thanks for the poem.Thank you!


  1. It’s time to ramble on…. | Non Compos Mentis Mama

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