Europe Science Revolution Part 6

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The Last Genius of the Natural Philosophers or Last of the Magi






By Michael Johnathan McDonald.



Sir Isaac Newton:

Age of Newton

  • A disagreeable genius

  • From Descartes' pushes to Newton's pulls

  • The raw data from the Principia

  • Add Galileo and Kepler...

  • Newton's world system

  • Chronology and prophecy

  • The last of the Magi

Isaac Newton

Born Woolsthrope, Christmas Day 1642.
Schooled at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1661.
Fellow, later Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge, 1667-1696.
Warden, later Master of the Mint, London, 1696-1727.
Fellow of Royal Society of London (FRS) 1672; President 1703-1727
Knighted, 1705; buried at Westminster Abbey, 1727.

Scientific writing

1. Optical Writings

    Reflecting telescope (1672)
    Nature of white light and color ( 1672-1675)
    Opticks, or A Treatise on the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light (1704)

2. Celestial and terrestrial mechanics
    Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica ( 1687, 2d ed.1713, 3d ed. 1725)

3. Mathematics

    Differentials: “ treaties of the methods of series and fluxions” written in 1671
            (Published posthumously, 1736)
    Integrals: “Treaties on the quadrature of curves” written in 1671 (pub. 1704)

4. Chemistry

    “On the nature of acids”, written around 1692 (pub. 1710)
    Query 31 of the Opticks

Other Posthumous writing by Issac Newton,
    Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms (1728)
    Observations upon Prophecies of Daniel and Apocalypses of St. John (1733)
    An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of the Scriptures (1754)
    Letters to the Reverend Dr. Richard Bentley (1756)
    Millions of words on AlchemIsaac Newton

Spent about 30 years at Trinity College and the 35 years in England and Cambridge.

Isaac Newton's only authentic painting is the one when he was around sixty-years old and after he was at Cambridge. He was the Einstein of his time up until the 20h century. In his day he was considered a natural philosopher of the highest order. In the 18th century he became almost deified, and by the 19th century he was regarded as the a figure we think of as Einstein today. He is the most famous for three laws on motion and bringing back the occult, And in his old age an argument for gravity. Gravity he believed held the  universe together. This meant he believed that the terrestrial and the celestial operated under the same laws. This was of course was in direct contrast with Aristotle and Ptolemy universes ( also see Galileo's Dialogue Day I for his argument too). Bacon's natural history was an inductive method, where collections of natural mater were worked into knowledges. The Cartesian method was a deductive method. These were the first types of scientific methods, however Newton cannot really be classified as such although his experiments in alchemy do show attempts to observe data in a scientific manner, but at a minor significance. He was the last of the natural philosophers and in the last fifty-years new research, thanks in part to the Portsmith Papers (1936), we know that religion was a huge topic for Newton who wrote a lot on this subject but kept it secret due to his Trinity affiliation and the Anglican Church. These papers, unpublished revealed an incredible world of religion and a man struggling with which direction he should travel. He was obsessed with religion to  point of trying to trace back to the Babylonians the in chronology the origins of religion. However, not a deist, nor a non-believer he denied the trinity and still believed whole heartedly in the maker that is involved in all our lives intimately and also involved in the universe - correcting the clocks once in a while ( orbits of planets) when they went occasionally out of whack. He was an Arian who practiced alchemy.

What was alchemy? Andreas Libavius (1550-1616) made Alchemy easy for the public to understand. In 1597, he wrote the first systematic chemistry textbook, Alchemia, which included instructions for the preparation of several strong acids. This was the first form of the science of chemistry. Although the spiritual connotations were attached to this subject, and Newton's own philosophy of it as well, we see practical applications in his work, especially Query 31. When he was around twenty years-old we got another glimpse into his persona. He wrote a confession of forty-nine sins in which he tells us he was a bully at school ( elementary-to high school equivalent levels), he beat up people and including his half sister and that he was not following " The," meaning God, his affection, he wrote. This showed his mental sins as morbid, and abandoned mentally from others, and also showed a troubled youth. "My family spurned me."  He was a recluse and never married or had good relationships to women. He had two relationships with men. After the plague hit, this is one of the periods in his life where he created much. This was a period of about eight-months in which he worked out much of the problems in the new calculus system and gravity. This was called the " Miraculous Year." As far as his professorship in Trinity there is little evidence to him having students. A legend says that he taught to walls, meaning that his lectures on math  were troublesome and he lost his audience. A professor named Issac Barrows gave up his seat for him to occupy a position at the College where he received a good salary to be able to study what he need and wanted too. This was a key factor in any person that accomplished much in life. His latent publishing methods were due to fear of being laughed at.

Alchemistry, or the Newtonian model was his understanding that the universe was a cryptogram created by God and knowledge was the way to unlock it and not faith.  The occult plus the studies on force brings back the issue of gravity. He didn't believe in faith, revelation of the trinity (Jesus as divine) but understood knowledge.  He believed in intelligent design. He would say 'we can only know through the study of natural philosophy God . He didn't believe in the lazy God scenario of Descartes universe. God is not just motion, who creates something in the universe and leaves it to fend for its self. This was , his thoughts on Descartes' handling of God.

The notion of a scientific method before the modern version could be discussed as similarities to the method we know today; we look at Astrology which was huge in the middle ages. Astrology used methods like the scientific method regardless if one believes in it or not. The data was collected, there was involvement around the data, there was a prediction outcome and it provided a livelihood for many including Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and many others as discussed these sections.

Newton on Prophecy

Newton on Prophecy and what was God's Role? The last Maji. Majis were references to astrologers in ancient times, but Newton's writings on Biblical chronology did not appear to rely on astrological repetition.

Newton’s question: what was God’s ultimate purpose.
Newton Apocalyptic Code (History Chanel, 2009)
Newton’s claim: The world will end in the year of 1260.
Newton’s claim that 1,000 years of peace, God will be with humans.
Newton: Father of physics, rational universe
Newton: Biblical decoding, obsessive mystic, Study of Bible – and of theology.
Newton: It was estimated that Newton secretly worked on alchemy and Biblical interpretation for 30 years – and wrote only to a selected few friends about his findings.

Did not write many future end dates down, as he was very careful. But late in his life he scribbled 2060 on one paper and one appears as the date 2060, found twice in the Yahuda MSS at Jerusalem (Stephen D. Snobelen).  Newton: 2060 A.D. is a new era, not the end of the world.

Most of the world knew Newton as the Father of Physics.

This was the unexpected Newton, irrational; branded by some as a dark heretic. He did not want to go public and wrote that ‘what I write lay until I’m away.’ He did not want to publish, because it would threaten the establishment. In the Bible he saw God speaking to mankind. The common Christian conception was that one day the world would end. So he set on to understand Biblical chronology. Apart from the rational mind of co-creating Calculus, studies into Optics and rational observable world/ natural forces his secret work lay in passion. Passion dominated reason. Instead he tried to reason the passion, as most persons of the world had been dominated by the passion of the Christ and of the Bible.

The Apocalypse actually means ‘the unfolding of prophecy,’ and not the end of the world. Atheists or non-believers of the Judaic traditions, including Christianity and Islam, believe that Sir. I. Newton had undiagnosed compulsive- obsessive disorder.

He was against Catholic normative three-person God-head (trinity of God): the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He rejected the Catholic orthodox of 3-1/1-3 , and saw that the Catholics had corrupted the trinity. He believed God was singular and that he was to interpret his Biblical codes. However, Newton’s outline was three key events: (1) Jews Return to Holy Land;(2) The World will end in 1260 from starting point that he must choose; ( 3) and, most concerned with after event from the anti-Christ by the ushering in of the eternal city of God. During number one, the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. He believed the architectural plan revealed secret codes. Most likely using the King James version of the Bible.

What did Newton Rely upon? The integer of 1260. He somehow linked this integer to the Book of Revelation and to Daniel in the Old Testament. However, under calculations of the day for the year method, he ran into structural problems. So he fudged and rounded off to keep it simple –thus deleting a decade or so from the numbers.

Letter-slip addressed to "Sir Isaac Newton", red wax seal.

apocalyptic calculations:  Yahuda manuscripts in Jerusalem / 1705 --/ Stephen D. Snobelen, "Statement on the date 2060," March 2003; updated May 2003 and June 2003 , availabel from
7.3o, folio 8r:
Prop. 1. The 2300 prophetick days did not commence before the rise of the little horn of the He Goat.
2 Those day [sic] did not commence a[f]ter the destruction of Jerusalem & ye Temple by the Romans A.[D.] 70.
3 The time times & half a time did not commence before the year 800 in wch the Popes supremacy commenced
4 They did not commence after the re[ig]ne of Gregory the 7th. 1084
5 The 1290 days did not commence b[e]fore the year 842.
6 They did not commence after the reigne of Pope Greg. 7th. 1084
7 The diffence [sic] between the 1290 & 1335 days are a parts of the seven weeks.

Therefore the 2300 years do not end before ye year 2132 nor after 2370.
The time times & half time do n[o]t end before 2060 nor after [2344]
The 1290 days do not begin [this should read: end] before 2090 [Newton might mean: 2132] nor after 1374 [sic; Newton probably means 2374]

Revelations: Time, Times, and a half of time: The one day for a year method ( this is astrological in one such progression system – but in his notes, it does not appear referenced to the stars or accurate cycles). His notes are extensive, and he wanted to keep it simple. So his calculations were not specific and varied widely.

Time=1; Times=2; half of Time=1/ 2 = roughly this equals to 1260 days – Newton could not rationalize the numeric discrepancies.

(365 days per year formula) ( 365 divided by 2) =182.5 + 365 (3) =1277.5
or 182.5 + 1095 =1277.5 ???

364 divided by 2 = 182 + 3(364) = 1274

Newton then fudged the numbers to be more rounded off to the 10ths of a century or decades. He concluded that the integer 1260 could then be apply across historical events to indicate a progression, such as repeatable circumstance but not admitted too as cyclic in form but linear in time and space. To get to the year of 2060 a nice even year, Newton chose another even year of the first crowning of a Charlemagne and nothing to do with the Jews. Therefore, according to Newton, 2060 is when the Anti-Christ will have appeared: This was calculated upon Roman Empire’s period of Holy Roman Empire, begun on Christmas, as was his birthday and the crowning of Charlemagne by the Pontiff in the year of 800 ACE on Christmas (Yahuda MS 7, University of Cambridge, microfilm; Stephen D. Snobelen, 1999 British Journal for the History of Science paper "Isaac Newton, heretic: the strategies of a Nicodemite", pages 391-2. ). If we use the Julian Calendar, Nostredame was also born on Christmas eve of the year 1503.

Historical points: Some of them of what he used.

Calculations: Charlemagne crowned first Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas in 800 ACE. 800 ACE + 1260 = 2060 ACE.

800 (Christmas Day) Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor; so 1260 added on meant that 2060 is the time of the conflagration.

Newton viewed amongst all his endeavors, including alchemy, that prophecy was the most dangerous. From 1727 his death and until 1936 his writings on the Bible chronology and general prophecy disappeared into an English library vault. A collection of posthumous writing were gathered up and placed into keeping. Newton died in 1727, although these papers were dated later due to their retrieval and categorizing.

During his later years and after practicing alchemy for about 30 years he was placed in charge of the English royal mint, and put counterfeiters to the gallows. These actions might have driven him to delve into subject matters of life’s ultimate purpose. In Revelations, the Armageddon spoke to him as a massive shedding of human life. After the end of the World, the anti-Christ, God will for 1,000 years live alongside humans – in 1,000 years of peace. Ultimately Newton may have come into conflict with what later Albert Einstein would challenge and that is the relativity of time and space. For Newton, if prophecy were true then some irrational understanding, according to his period’s views was this non-continuum of linear time – but some sort of past, present and future in time and space as functioning in some continuum.

From the 1609 Old Roman Empire ceding land back to the Jews; Adding 1260 years adds up to the number of 1869. This was later adjusted to 1889 when Zionism came onto the world scene. Thus (609ADE) the Roman Empire ceded land back to the Jews. (1889) Zionism arises and supports the Jews return to the Holy Land. Newton often ran into these problems because he was not using astrology systems but only historical events for chronological purposes. Newton had many numerical observations. These are only a few.

Anti-Christ appears in the New Testament, and is only for one person: Anti from Greek means “in place of,” and Christos means anointed.”

Christian Zionists want the Jews to Return Home to usher in the New Kingdom of Heaven.

Fundamental belief of Christian Zionism: (1) Jews return to the Holy Land (1948); (2) Jews retake Jerusalem (1967); (3) Jews rebuild their temple—thus the goal is the ushering in the last days. Newton came up with a date of 1944. Yet it was 684 ADE and plus 1260 which did add up to the yearly number of 1944. This indicated that Newton was using multiple systems. Yet, it was in 1948 that Jews were allowed to return to Palestine and lands of ancient Israel. The precursor idea is from the period of Flavius Petrus Sabbatins Iustinianus, of a collective persons arguing to end imperialism and return peoples to the proper order. These decisions pertained to classical knowledge was dangerous which had spurred the barbarians to revolt and conquest and turn the European lands into a wasteland. So this was a part of correcting these past Roman actions. So Newton, while not looking at Justinian I’s decisions to end Hellenistic curriculums, noted that Jewish movements and circumstances marked key points in history linking the Revelation code tied to astrology and to the progression motion of a day for a year. It was not astrology but the concept it was laid out as in Daniel and the Book of Revelations.

Natural Rational Universe

Newton (bio) Sir Isaac Newton, PRS, (4 January [O.S. 25 December 1642] 1643 – 31 March [O.S. 20 March] 1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, inventor, and natural philosopher who is generally regarded as one of the most influential scientists in history.


Newton wrote the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica wherein he described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from this system, he was the first to show that the motion of bodies on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws. The unifying and deterministic power of his laws was integral to the scientific revolution and the advancement of heliocentrism.


Among other scientific discoveries, Newton realized that the spectrum of colours observed when white light passes through a prism is inherent in the white light and not added by the prism (as Roger Bacon had claimed in the 13th century), and notably argued that light is composed of particles. He also developed a law of cooling, describing the rate of cooling of objects when exposed to air. He enunciated the principles of conservation of momentum and angular momentum. Finally, he studied the speed of sound in air, and voiced a theory of the origin of stars.


Newton shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of calculus, which he used to formulate his physical laws. (Differential calculus however, was conceived centuries earlier in India by Bhaskara and the Kerala School.) He also made contributions to other areas of mathematics, having derived the binomial theorem in its entirety. The mathematician and mathematical physicist Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736–1813), said that "Newton was the greatest genius that ever existed and the most fortunate, for we cannot find more than once a system of the world to establish."


Newton was born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth (at Woolsthorpe Manor), a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire. Newton was prematurely born and no one expected him to live; indeed, his mother, Hannah Ayscough Newton, is reported to have said that his body at that time could have fit inside a quart mug (Bell, 1937). His father, Isaac, had died three months before Newton's birth. When Newton was two, his mother went to live with her new husband, leaving her son in the care of his grandmother.


According to E.T. Bell (1937, Simon and Schuster) and H. Eves:


Newton began his schooling in the village schools and was later sent to Grantham Grammar School where he became the top boy in the school. At Grantham he lodged with the local apothecary, William Clarke and eventually became engaged to the apothecary's stepdaughter, Anne Storer, before he went off to Cambridge University at the age of 19. As Newton became engrossed in his studies, the romance cooled and Miss Storer married someone else. It is said he kept a warm memory of this love, but Newton had no other recorded 'sweethearts' and never married.

However, William Stukeley and Mrs Vincent, the source which Bell and Eves have embroidered so unhelpfully, merely say that Newton entertained 'a passion' for her while he lodged at the Clarke house. Mrs Vincent's maiden name was Katherine Storer, not Anne



From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton was educated at The King's School in Grantham (where his signature can still be seen upon a library window sill). He was removed from school and by Oct 1659 he was to be found at Woolsthorpe where his mother attempted to make a farmer of him. He was, by later reports of his contemporaries, thoroughly unhappy with the work. It appears to be Henry Stokes, master at the King's School, who persuaded his mother to send him back to school so that he might complete his education. This he did at the age of eighteen, achieving an admirable final report. His teacher said:


His genius now begins to mount upwards apace and shine out with more strength. He excels particularly in making verses. In everything he undertakes, he discovers an application equal to the pregnancy of his parts and exceeds even the most sanguine expectations I have conceived of him.

In June 1661 he matriculated to Trinity College, Cambridge. At that time, the college's teachings were based on those of Aristotle, but Newton preferred to read the more advanced ideas of modern philosophers such as Descartes and astronomers such as Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler. In 1665 he discovered the binomial theorem and began to develop a mathematical theory that would later become calculus. Soon after Newton had obtained his degree in 1665, the University closed down as a precaution against the Great Plague. For the next 18 months Newton worked at home on calculus, optics and law of gravitation.



Newton became a fellow of Trinity College in 1669. In the same year he circulated his findings in De Analysi per Aequationes Numeri Terminorum Infinitas (On Analysis by Infinite Series), and later in De methodis serierum et fluxionum (On the Methods of Series and Fluxions), whose title gave rise to the "method of fluxions".


Newton is generally credited with the binomial theorem, an essential step toward the development of modern analysis. Newton and Gottfried Leibniz developed the calculus independently, using different notations. Although Newton had worked out his method years before Leibniz, he published almost nothing about it until 1693, and did not give a full account until 1704. Meanwhile, Leibniz began publishing a full account of his methods in 1684. Moreover, Leibniz's notation and "differential Method" were universally adopted on the Continent, and after 1820 or so, in the British Empire. Newton claimed that he had been reluctant to publish his calculus because he feared being mocked for it. Starting in 1699, other members of the Royal Society accused Leibniz of plagiarism, and the dispute broke out in full force in 1711. Thus began the bitter calculus priority dispute with Leibniz, which marred the lives of both Newton and Leibniz until the latter's death in 1716. This dispute created a divide between British and Continental mathematicians that may have retarded the progress of British mathematics by at least a century.


Newton discovered Newton's identities, Newton's method, classified polynomials of degree 3 in 2 variables, made substantial contributions to the theory of finite differences, and was the first to use fractional indices and to employ coordinate geometry to derive solutions to diophantine equations. He approximated partial sums of the harmonic series by logarithms (a precursor to Euler's summation formula), and was the first to use power series with confidence and to revert power series. He discovered new formulae for pi.


He was elected Lucasian professor of mathematics in 1669. In that day, any fellow of Cambridge or Oxford had to be an ordained Anglican priest. However, the terms of the Lucasian professorship required that the holder not be active in the church (presumably so as to have more time for science). Newton argued that this should exempt him from the ordination requirement, and Charles II, whose permission was needed, accepted this argument. Thus a conflict between Newton's religious views and Anglican orthodoxy was averted.




From 1670 to 1672 he lectured on optics. During this period he investigated the refraction of light, demonstrating that a prism could decompose white light into a spectrum of colours, and that a lens and a second prism could recompose the multicoloured spectrum into white light. He also showed that the coloured light does not change its properties, by separating out a coloured beam and shining it on various objects. Newton noted that regardless of whether it was reflected or scattered or transmitted, it stayed the same colour. Thus the colours we observe are the result of how objects interact with the incident already-coloured light, not the result of objects generating the colour. For more details, see Newton's theory of colour. Many of his findings in this field were criticized by later theorists, the most well-known being Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who postulated his own colour theories.


From this work he concluded that any refracting telescope would suffer from the dispersion of light into colours, and invented a reflecting telescope (today, known as a Newtonian telescope) to bypass that problem. By grinding his own mirrors, using Newton's rings to judge the quality of the optics for his telescopes, he was able to produce a superior instrument to the refracting telescope, due primarily to the wider diameter of the mirror. (Only later, as glasses with a variety of refractive properties became available, did achromatic lenses for refractors become feasible.) In 1671 the Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope. Their interest encouraged him to publish his notes On Colour, which he later expanded into his Opticks. When Robert Hooke criticised some of Newton's ideas, Newton was so offended that he withdrew from public debate. The two men remained enemies until Hooke's death.


In one experiment, to prove that colour perception is caused by pressure on the eye, Newton slid a darning needle around the side of his eye until he could poke at its rear side, dispassionately noting "white, darke & coloured circles" so long as he kept stirring with "ye bodkin."


Newton argued that light is composed of particles, but he had to associate them with waves to explain the diffraction of light (Opticks Bk. II, Props. XII-XX). Later physicists instead favoured a purely wavelike explanation of light to account for diffraction. Today's quantum mechanics restores the idea of "wave-particle duality", although photons bear very little resemblance to Newton's corpuscles (e.g., corpuscles refracted by accelerating toward the denser medium).


(disputed — see talk page) Newton is believed to have been the first to explain precisely the formation of the rainbow from water droplets dispersed in the atmosphere in a rain shower. Figure 15 of Part II of Book One of the Opticks shows a perfect illustration of how this occurs.


In his Hypothesis of Light of 1675, Newton posited the existence of the ether to transmit forces between particles. Newton was in contact with Henry More, the Cambridge Platonist who was born in Grantham, on alchemy, and now his interest in the subject revived. He replaced the ether with occult forces based on Hermetic ideas of attraction and repulsion between particles. John Maynard Keynes, who acquired many of Newton's writings on alchemy, stated that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason: he was the last of the magicians."21 Newton's interest in alchemy cannot be isolated from his contributions to science 2. (This was at a time when there was no clear distinction between alchemy and science.) Had he not relied on the occult idea of action at a distance, across a vacuum, he might not have developed his theory of gravity. (See also Isaac Newton's occult studies.)


In 1704 Newton wrote Opticks, in which he expounded his corpuscular theory of light. The book is also known for the first exposure of the idea of the interchangeability of mass and energy: "Gross bodies and light are convertible into one another...". Newton also constructed a primitive form of a frictional electrostatic generator, using a glass globe (Optics, 8th Query).


Gravity and Motion


In 1679, Newton returned to his work on mechanics, i.e., gravitation and its effect on the orbits of planets, with reference to Kepler's laws of motion, and consulting with Hooke and Flamsteed on the subject. He published his results in De Motu Corporum (1684). This contained the beginnings of the laws of motion that would inform the Principia.


The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (now known as the Principia) was published on 5 July 16871 with encouragement and financial help from Edmond Halley. In this work Newton stated the three universal laws of motion that were not to be improved upon for more than two hundred years. He used the Latin word gravitas (weight) for the force that would become known as gravity, and defined the law of universal gravitation. In the same work he presented the first analytical determination, based on Boyle's law, of the speed of sound in air.


With the Principia, Newton became internationally recognised. He acquired a circle of admirers, including the Swiss-born mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, with whom he formed an intense relationship that lasted until 1693. The end of this friendship led Newton to a nervous breakdown.


Late Life


In the 1690s Newton wrote a number of religious tracts dealing with the literal interpretation of the Bible. Henry More's belief in the infinity of the universe and rejection of Cartesian dualism may have influenced Newton's religious ideas. A manuscript he sent to John Locke in which he disputed the existence of the Trinity was never published. Later works — The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728) and Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733) — were published after his death. He also devoted a great deal of time to alchemy (see above)2.


Newton was also a member of the Parliament of England from 1689 to 1690 and in 1701, but his only recorded comments were to complain about a cold draft in the chamber and request that the window be closed.


Newton moved to London to take up the post of warden of the Royal Mint in 1696, a position that he had obtained through the patronage of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. He took charge of England's great recoining, somewhat treading on the toes of Master Lucas (and finagling Edmond Halley into the job of deputy comptroller of the temporary Chester branch). Newton became Master of the Mint upon Lucas' death in 1699. These appointments were intended as sinecures, but Newton took them seriously, exercising his power to reform the currency and punish clippers and counterfeiters. He retired from his Cambridge duties in 1701. Ironically, it was his work at the Mint, rather than his contributions to science, which earned him a knighthood from Queen Anne in 1705.


Newton was made President of the Royal Society in 1703 and an associate of the French Académie des Sciences. In his position at the Royal Society, Newton made an enemy of John Flamsteed, the Astronomer Royal, by attempting to steal his catalogue of observations.


Newton died in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His niece, Catherine Barton Conduitt3, served as his hostess in social affairs at his house on Jermyn Street in London; he was her "very loving Uncle" 4, according to his letter to her when she was recovering from smallpox.


In later years there has been some speculation that Newton had Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. See People speculated to have been autistic. 1






Newton and his World



Principa, published in 1687, Newton’s’ natural Philosophy. These were philosophies on matters on force of universal attraction, forces between bodies, and particles of matter; particles, meaning atoms.2


The  Queries (Questions) were sets of topics subsections on all matters of natural science that Newton set out to investigate and write his thoughts on. There were like a life guideline. At first Newton set out forty-five headings under which to organize material gained from his new readings.  These readings kick-started his knowledge based upon natural science. The philosophies of Descartes, equated matter with tension, and other investigations on natural laws. Vortexes and vacuums, and optics connected not only to celestial phenomena, but earthly applications as well.3


The Queries wound up focusing on the Cartesian mechanical philosophy and atomism, an issue that would remain a central theme of his scientific career.4



Hypothesis of Light


Newton was the first one to understand that white light makes up all the other light in the visible spectrum, and not a  part of the spectrum as Robert Hook thought of it as (a modified version of Descartes). This was impart some of the causes for Hook's venomous rhetoric toward Newton, who stayed in his room at Cambridge instead of venturing out to the Royal academies meetings. Newton was a mysterious or shy and can be traced back to his roots in a Freudian type of analysis. He was born with a deceased father, and his mother rejected him to a relative. He possibly held a longing for a real family his whole life.  He was a recluse, so to speak, and didn't engage in public conflict but attacked from his pen. He was rarely known to controversy, but he loved to dish it out and this may be the unsure feeling of not having a safety-net of a sound family childhood. He also, like Copernicus and Galileo, but sometimes for different reasons waited to release his work. This is another reason why he doesn't fit the model of the modern scientist - who usually release their studies so others can advance them or study them in our communities of research. Newton's reason was his insecurity, also tying back to this childhood reason, especially from Hook who could give quite a tongue lashing in his creeds in the scientific community. Newton never got over his public wow of Hooks attacks. He waited until Hook was dead before he published his finding on light. This shows us something about his character. This is not a member of the scientific community and therefore the title of last of the natural philosophers. The French Newton, Laplace (1749-1827; and Maxwell), was really a scientific scientist. He strictly followed the modern type of methods of repeatable and observational experiments.




  • A single ray can generate many thousands of vibrations.5

  • Fifthly, light and aether mutually act upon each other, aether in refracting light, and Light in warming aether; and the dense aether acts more strongly.6

  • Rayes of Light to be smal bodyes, emitted every way from a shining substances, those that they impinge on any refracting or reflecting superficies, must necessarily excite vibrations in the aethers as stones doe in water when throwne into it.7

  • I suppose the aether suits its Density to the bignesse of the pore, or the Medium within it and so being of a diverse density from the aether that surrounds it, refracts or reflects light in Superficies, and so makes the body, where many such interstices [ an especially small or narrow space]  are, appeare opake.8





Alexander Koyré


The Significance of the Newtonian Synthesis


Newton’s insight and experimental genius – not skill…Robert Hooke, were just as skilled, or even more so than he – that we own the idea of decomposition of light and the first scientific theory of spectral colors; that it is to his deep philosophical mind that we owe the formulation – though not the discovery – of the fundamental laws of motion and of action, together with a clear understanding of the method and meaning of scientific inquiry; that is his invention of calculus that enabled him to demonstrate the identity of terrestrial and celestial gravitation and to find out the fundamental laws of attraction that binds – or at least until recently bound – together the smallest and the largest bodies  – stars and atoms   –  of the infinite Universe. We know too, of course, that it is not to him, but to his great rival Leibniz, that we owe de facto the actual spread and development of the infinitesimal calculus, without which the gradual extension and perfection of the Newtonian systema mundi would be impossible.9


It has often been said, too, that the distinctive feature of the Newtonian science consists precisely in the linking together of the mathematics and experiment, in the mathematical treatment of the phenomena, that is, of the experimental or (as in astronomy, where we cannot perform experiments) observational data.10


The overwhelming success of Newtonian physics made it practically inevitable that its particular features became thought of as essential for the building of science -- of any kind of science ― as such, and that all the new sciences that emerged in the eighteenth century ― science of man and society – tried to confirm to the Newtonian pattern of empirico ― deductive knowledge, and to abide by the rules laid down by Newton in his famous Regulae philosophandi, soften quoted and misunderstood.11



Newton and the Cambridge Platonists.

Natural philosophy within the mathematical framework See: Principia.


The philosophy of interlinking the mechanical physics to natural philosophy of the ancients and his own thoughts became paramount, the various ancient thought of spiritual-natural things acting on bodies. “The Providence of God the craftsman”, Newton says of Plato.12 Newton, and the Cambridge Platonists, was as their task the unification and restoration of this philosophy. 13 Newton states the cause of gravity, for the ancients, was God.14


The splitting up of the natural and divine knowledge began with taking God’s natural proofs away, or figuring them into the cosmological system of astronomy and physics, from epistemology. Newton believed that he knew how God’s agency operated in His created world, particularly in the cause of gravitation.15 For many people, this statement is shocking. Rather, he shared the belief, common in the seventeenth century, that natural and divine knowledge could be harmonized and shown to support each other.16


Roger Cotes, Newton’s admired editor, adds to Query 21 that those who deny the vacuum deny God for the sake of asserting Necessity.17


Basically, Newton knew humans and his fellow scientists do not have all the answers and, even today, we still do not. Therefore the act of God’s agency of the cosmos is still in question. During the 1450s after the printing press, many anti-Aristotelian and Platonist individuals wanted to reformulate the new scientific research in an unnatural way. Their intellect was, in fact, superior to a central intelligence of a God. In the eighteenth century a number of books came out to try to explain Newton in a simplified language for the masses. From an account of Sir Isaac Newton by Colin Maclaurin,  Philosophical Descoveries, London: printed for the authors children,1748.


Speculative men, by the force of genius, may invent systems that will perhaps be greatly admired for a time; these however, are phantoms which the force of truth will sooner or later dispel: and while we are pleas’d with the deceit, true philosophy, with all the arts and improvements that depend upon it, suffers. The real state of things escape our observation: or, if it presents itself to us, we are apt either to reject it wholly as fiction, or by new efforts of a vain ingenuity, to interweave it with our own conceits, and labor to make it tally with our favourite schemes. Thus, by blending together parts so ill suited, the whole comes forth an absurd composition of truth and error.18


Mathematics was not seen as spiritual or connected to a god.



Newton's Cosmology


" Now, in order to include God in the world. Newton declared , in the 1706 Lain Opticks, that the world by it self tended to dissolution, and consequently needed periodic reformation buy the Creator". Newton showed a need for these periodic reformations and even hit upon a possible mechanism by which they could be preformed.19



1. Isaac Newton, [database on-line]; available from Wikipedia, Free open source encyclopedia, March 2006.

2. Newton, eds., Bernard Cohen and Richard S. Westfall, (New York: Norton & Company, 1995), 5.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid., 4.

5. Ibid., 24.

6. Ibid., 21.

7. Ibid., 13.

8. Ibid., 25.

9. Ibid., 59.

10. Ibid., 68.

11. Ibid., 69.

12. Ibid., 106.

13. Ibid., 107.

14. Ibid., 104.

15. Ibid., 97.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., 86.

18. Ibid., 122.

19. Ibid., 284.




Building on these foundations, in 1687 English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton published the famous Principia, which postulated the first-ever law of gravitation. In his own words, “I deduced that the forces which keep the planets in their orbs must be reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve; and thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her orb with force of gravity at the surface of the Earth; and found them pretty nearly.” Most modern-day, non-relativistic, gravitational calculations are based on Newton's work.

Newton's law of universal gravitation

Main article: Newton's law of universal gravitation

In 1687 Newton published his work on the universal law of gravity in his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Newton’s law of gravitation states that: every particle in the universe attracts every other particle with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. If the particles have masses m1 and m2 and are separated by a distance r, the magnitude of this gravitational force is:

 F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}

where G is a universal constant called the gravitational constant.

Einstein's theory of gravitation

Main article: Einstein's theory of gravitation

Newton’s conception and quantification of gravitation held until the beginning of the 20th century, when the notion of instantaneous action at a distance, which it entailed, was recognized as being untenable from the viewpoint of relativity. In his general theory of relativity, the German-born, Jewish physicist Albert Einstein developed a wholly new concept of gravitation. Einstein proposed that the four-dimensional space-time continuum is curved by the presence of matter, producing a universe in which bodies travel in geodesics that are the curved trajectories interpreted by Newton as the result of some attractive force.


In physics, spacetime is a model that combines 3-D space and 1-D time into a single construct called the space-time continuum (in which time plays the role of the 4th dimension). According to Euclidean space perception, our universe has three dimensions of space, and one dimension of time. By combining the two concepts into a single manifold, physicists are able to significantly simplify the form of most physical laws, as well as to describe the workings of the universe at both supergalactic and subatomic levels in a more uniform way.

Wikipedia, Space Time, Free open-source  Encyclopedia. (wikipost Mar 2006) <> 2006.


Wikipedia, gravatation, Free open-source  Encyclopedia. (wikipost Mar 2006) <> 2006.


Copyright © 2006 Michael Johnathan McDonald. . All rights reserved.








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