Newton’s Clock, Part 2

Well I didn’t get very far around Newton’s clock last time because the expression for “1” took a while to explain. Today I will explain the expressions for “2” and “3” on the clock:

The expression log10(100) is a logarithm (logs). I’ve talked about logs before. They are exponents. This particular one is the english equivalent of asking “What is the exponent of 10 so that 10x = 100?”. Well, the answer to that is “2” because 10² = 100.

The next expression


again, will take a bit of explaining.

This is a calculus expression. The ∫ symbol is an elongated “S”. It has a German origin but this symbol was used because the expression represents a sum (addition) of infinitesimal (that is, ridiculously small) things. For this particular expression, you can think of it as finding the area under the plot of the equation y = 2x from x = 1 to x = 2:

So this expression can be thought of as adding the areas of infinitesimally thin rectangles from x = 1 to x = 2, with a width of dx and a height of 2x. This sum will equal the total area under y = 2x from x = 1 to x = 2. Using calculus, this area is equal to 2² – 1² = 4 – 1= 3. So this is why this expression is in the “3” position.

I will leave this as an exercise for the reader to confirm that this is the correct area by using geometric formulas for area for triangles or trapeziums (trapezoids in the USA).