A Conversation for 'Principia Mathematica' by Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead

Sir Isaac Newton

Post 1

Munchkin

Principia Mathmatica is also the name of Sir Isaac Newton's tome on physics (or natural philosophy as it was known at the time) and includes his explanations for the light spectrum and gravity. It also includes his views on Calculus, a version of mathematics he claims to have invented. It is also in Latin, so I never understood the bits that were read to me smiley - smiley


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 2

Omicron - Master of Hyperspace and Chanter of arcane superstring equations

Yup, that's right, except that the book by Newton was called "Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis" - it was a big hit at the time among scientists, as I recall. Last Sunday, a teacher of mine called Newton the greatest villain of all time. When asked why, he said that even Hitler only managed to ruin the lives of a significant fraction of the Earth's population, but Newton, at a single stroke has been torturing children like crazy since he came up with his theories of gravity, and his pioneering work on mechanics and optics.
Just goes to show, doesn't it?


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 3

Abi

ahhh but there is something to be said about his remark to Robert Hooke - 'If I have seen so far, it is only by standing on the shoulder of giants' smiley - smiley


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 4

Munchkin

Er, yeh, but then when he published the Principia with his new maths of Calculus a certain German, whose name I can't remember went "I, independently, but at the same time, have also developed this Calculus." So Newton had him drummed out of the Royal Society and branded a liar and a cheat across all of Europe for trying to steal Newtons ideas. What a nice chap!


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 5

Phil

That'd be that Liebnitz fellow (Gotfried Leibnitz, 1646-1716).


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 6

26199

Newton, if I remember correctly, also spent a fairly large amount of time suffering some kind of mental illness.

He (Newton) was, I suppose, a genius... and geniuses don't tend to find life easy, y'know? 'S hardly surprising if he wasn't a particularly nice person...

Incidentally, that 'standing on the shoulders of giants' quote was, according to New Scientist's Feedback column, intended sarcastically - one of his contemporaries was somewhat small in stature.

26199


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 7

Weatherwax

He must have been a genius. He invented calculus in less time than it takes most of us to learn it.


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 8

Hexar

IIRC, Newton's mental problems are believed to be the result of mercury poisoning stemming from his experiments in alchemy.


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 9

mockturtl

i've heard it told that newton died a virgin? any confirmation to this?


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 10

Omicron - Master of Hyperspace and Chanter of arcane superstring equations

Um, I think the virgin idea is more or less true.

To 26199, the poke about standing on shoulders of giants was aimed specifically at Robert Hooke since he was rather short, and Newton himself considered Hooke something of a mental midget. This was mostly because Hooke had a really bad habit of hearing about a new discovery, and then claiming that he'd already done it, but conveniently neglected to tell anyone about it.


Sir Isaac Newton

Post 11

Ishhara

Well I am going to stand up Hooke - with regard to watches it is almost certain that he did invent it first. This is because of a draft patent given to him by the King which currently resides in my father's bank vault in Central London. It actually belongs to an American collector but the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers have appealed to the British Government not to let it out of the country on the grounds that it is a piece of national heritage and proves that he invented it first. If it didn't, this piece of paper would be residing in California.


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Sir Isaac Newton

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