Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16
Just as is the case for some students, Newton is reported to have struggled to change his conception of motion from one involving centrifugal forces to a notion of centripetal force. Newton first tried to conceptualise circular motion by imagining that a half rotation was equivalent to a perfectly elastic rebound. When this method produced results with mismatching dimensions, he tried to resolve the components of circular motion along the sides of a square inscribed within the path of the body. Though he was able to correctly derive the equation for centripetal force from this method, he continued to conceptualise a centre-fleeing rather than a centre-seeking force.