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RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Inertia thought experiment. Animation demonstrating the thought experiment on inertia described by Italian physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Galileo imagined how a ball rolling up and down a frictionless sloping surface would act if the angle of the slope on one side was changed. At the start of the animation, the slopes on each side are equal and the ball reaches the same height it was released from. As the slope angle and distance is increased on one side, the ball still rises to the same height. Galileo extended the distance to infinity, demonstrating that the ball would keep rolling on a frictionless surface forever. This is the principle of inertia, later expressed by Newton as his First Law, that an object that is in motion will not change its velocity unless a force acts upon it.
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