Newton invented the laws of motion — and internet sockpuppetryEsther Inglis-Arkell9/05/13 10:40amFiled to: secret historyisaac newtonsockpuppetsgottfried leibnizcalculusmathsscience314EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkNewton was even more ahead of his time than we imagined. Not only did he come up with the laws of motion, he also came up with the concept of sockpuppets centuries before the beginning of the internet.AdvertisementMost people who are on message boards or in internet communities will have had experience with a sockpuppet. When someone has posted something controversial, or when they're getting piled on in an argument, a new person suddenly steps in. They champion the underdog's viewpoint and belligerently attack whoever disagrees. A quick check of writing style or IP addresses shows them to be none other than the underdog. Sockpuppets can give be simple, posting quick messages of agreement, or can have elaborate backstories, start fights over and over, and have long conversations with what turns out to be themselves. They seem like an invention of the internet, but they have deep historical roots, and an impressive pedigree.Sir Isaac Newton is generally known for two different things - being brilliant and not being very nice. Those two traits resulted in an infamous scientific conflagration when Newton and Gottfried Leibniz got into a dispute about who invented calculus. Newton, it seems, came up with the idea first. However, Leibniz invented the idea independently, thought it through more thoroughly, and had the guts to publish first. Once claims of plagiarism were made, both men had factions that lined up behind them, and both wanted the dispute to be settled by a scientific authority.