The Newton Papers

While catching up on some of the blogs I follow, I came across this on physics4me’s site. He had posted some incredible images of the handwritten notes of Isaac Newton. As I followed the links, I learned that Cambridge University has recently launched the Cambridge Digital Library, a new project that plans to digitize and make available to the public a vast collection of books, documents, maps, and journals. According to Anne Jarvis, the University Librarian,

Cambridge University Library contains evidence of some of the greatest ideas and discoveries over two millennia. We want to make our collections accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a thirst for knowledge.

Over the next two years, they plan on releasing a two-part “Foundations Project,” focusing on the foundations of faith and of science. Moreover, as their first release, they recently published the Newton Papers, a collection of over 4,000 digitally scanned pages of Newton’s notebooks and early papers, and even his seminal Principia.  A truly impressive collection.  A fascinating history of this collection of papers can be found here.

As someone with a true love of the history of science, this is truly exciting news. Just reading the history of the acquisition of the collection was fascinating in and of itself, and I spent several solid hours today looking through the scanned images of his college notebook, his “waste book,” and of course, his Principia. I’ve included a few images that I saved as I browsed through the seemingly endless pages, but I urge you to have a look for yourself.

More information can be found here, on BBC and on CNN.

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.


7 thoughts on “The Newton Papers

  1. I love sites like this with scanned images of historic documents of whatever kind. You can really get lost in them.

    And speaking of “Over the next two years, they plan on releasing a two-part “Foundations Project,” focusing on the foundations of faith and of science”…I assume you’ve been following the news out of CERN on the race to the Higgs boson aka the “God particle.”

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