Unknown copies of the 1st edition of Newton’s iconic “Principia” discovered

Finally, Isaac Newton’s masterpiece – not at all easy – Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), the book that revolutionized science, was probably more widely read from the beginning than previously thought. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) say detectives working on multiple continents have discovered in 27 countries hundreds of hitherto unknown copies of the historic first edition of the British physicist’s work. The discovery of more than double the number of of the famous first edition of the Principia of 1687. The last “inventory” in 1953 had recorded 187 known copies, which now increase to 386, after the addition of almost 200 books. Researchers believe that at least 200 more copies are scattered and registered in public and private collections around the world. It is estimated that the first edition of the book consisted of 600 to 750 copies. Among the copies that came to light are stolen ones, such as a book found in a bookstore in Italy and stolen from a library in Germany half a century ago. “We found hard copies of the first edition of the Principia at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions today, as well as on the” black market “for $ 300,000 to $ 3 million each.” “We felt like Sherlock Holmes,” he said. of the History of Science Mordechai Feingold, who made the “detective” together with the Slovak-born collaborator Andrei Svorendzik of the German University of Mannheim, devoting more than ten years to an exhaustive search for lost books. The announcement was made by them in the scientific journal “Annals of Science”. Analyzing data on the owners of the copies, as well as notes in the margins of the pages, the researchers concluded that the “Principles”, once believed to have been read only by a small group of select mathematicians, they probably had a wider appeal and readability, already, from their first edition. “The spread of the book and its ideas was much faster and more open than we had anticipated,” Feingold said. In his iconic work, Newton introduced the laws of motion and the concept of universal gravity, “uniting in one a single law for the first time the earthly and the celestial worlds “, according to Svorentsik. Gradually Newton – like later Darwin and Einstein – exerted an influence far beyond his scientific field. A key role in the writing of the “Principles” was played by the British astronomer Edmond Halley (among others, the “father” of the comet of the same name). who asked Newton to make some calculations for the elliptical orbits of the celestial bodies in our solar system. When Haley saw Newtonian calculations, he was so impressed that he “pushed” Newton to write a book about it and, in addition, financed its first edition. Halley’s relevant “propaganda” – that it was the work of a genius. In the process, the rumor began to circulate that Newton “wrote a book that neither he nor anyone else could understand.” However, the notion of the book’s incomprehensibility, and therefore low readability, is probably dispelled, according to investigative investigators. after discovering so many -obviously read- copies scattered around the world. Source ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ Follow it on Google News and find out all the news first See all the latest News from Greece and the World, at

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