Can we wait longer to broadcast the news ? Isaac Newton’s own annotated copy of his Principia Mathematica is among his notebooks and manuscripts being made available online by Cambridge University Library, the so-called Newton Papers.
The Library holds the world’s largest and most significant collection of the scientific works of Isaac Newton (1642-1727), described by many as the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. His works launch the new Cambridge Digital Library.
Launching the website with more than 4,000 pages of its most important Newton material, the University Library will upload thousands of further pages over the next few months until almost all of its Newton collection is available to view and download anywhere in the world.
Ladies & Gentlemen, hold your breath and open your eyes : here is the digitilization of Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica.
Newton’s monumental Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, often shortened to Principia, was published in July 1687 and brought him international fame. In this three-part work, he lays out in mathematical terms his laws of motion and account of universal gravitation.
Although he was able to provide a convincing description of the effects of gravitation, Newton failed to provide a sufficient explanation for why gravity occurred, so he sought to address this and other concerns by preparing a further edition. We have digitised Newton’s own copy of the first edition. It is interleaved with blank pages so he had sufficient space for annotations and corrections for his second edition, which he eventually published in 1713.
The book was severely damaged by fire and damp some time before it was given to the Library in 1872 as part of the Portsmouth collection.