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Book Review: An Invisible Force
Reading Level

Ages 9–12

Also in This Series

• Atomic Universe
• Killing Germs, Saving Lives
• Double Helix

The story of Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion is a complex yet historical marvel. It starts long ago, with the writings of Claudius Ptolemy, and traces its way through the work of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei. If the book had it that succinctly, it would be perfect.

All of these men observed and wrote things that evolved the science of astronomy and physics that led to Newton's discoveries and maxims. They are each (with the exception of Brahe, who isn't mentioned at all) profiles, some more in-depth than others. Kepler, without whose work Newton never would have been able to formulate his Three Laws of Motion, is given just a bare mention, and that one out of sequence.

The most mention is given to Galileo, who is certainly a large part of the story. Newton, however, is the focus of the book, at least according to the title and subtitle. The presentation of the book is a bit confusing in this regard.

One strong suit is the explanation of Newton's famous Laws of Motion, especially in terms that young readers can understand. This makes the Laws not some nebulous idea but a set of real-world rules that people and objects follow even if they don't realize it.

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