How did all these formulas that we use on a regular basis come into being? I'm sure many answers would be "oh they conducted several experiments and got the formula", but even then, how did the first guy who arrived at any given formula know that this experiment would lead to that said formula?
My question is basically this- for the very first person who came up with any mathematical formula or equation that is used extensively in today's world, how did he/she know where to start? Most of the equations that we learn, such as escape velocity, use some reference formula that has already been arrived at. But what did the people who arrived at a formula for the first time use as a basis or a reference when nothing was discovered during their time?