Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Misty Copeland, a black ballet dancer jumps high

The ballet dancer Misty Copeland jumps high by pushing off the floor.

As with the First and Second Laws of Motion, an Islamic scientist was the first to propose the  Third Law of Motion too. Ibn Bajjah, who lived in Islamic Spain, was a physicist. He lived in the 1000s, a little later than Ibn Sina. Ibn Bajjah suggested that every action caused a reaction. Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion goes a little further. It tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Everything moves relative to everything else. If you push somebody, the push forces her backwards, but it also forces you backwards – that’s the equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes the thing you’re pushing against is so big that you don’t notice the reaction (like if you are pushing off from the ground, the Earth is too big for you to see that the Earth is also moving away from you), but the reaction is still there.

More about Newton’s Laws of Motion

Bibliography and further reading about Newton’s Laws:


Physics home