Sir Isaac Newton


Born: Woolsthorpe, England, 1642
Education: Trinity College, Cambridge Univ. (1661-1665)
          (plague: calculus; "falling apple" and gravity: see Cohen below)
          (return to Trinity: master’s 1668)
          Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (Cambridge, 1669)
           Master of the Royal Mint (portrait on the back of last English one
pound note)
          elected president of the Royal Society (1703)
1705: knighted ("Sir Isaac Newton")
Died: 1727

de Motu (1684)
Principia Mathematica (published 1687; third edition, 1726 = our text)
Optiks (published 1704)

Influenced by: Edmund Halley (astronomer of comet fame)
          Pierre Gassendi (revival of ancient atomic theory)

Significance:  development of calculus (same time as Leibniz)
          laws of motion
          explanation of tides
          invented mirror telescope (vs. lenses, which are distorted at the
          determined that white light is a mixture of all the colors (prisms
separated the colors, not added them)


on-line (Latin text of contents and excerpts including Scholium Generale, 1726
3rd edition)
thelatinlibary  (Neo-Latin)

Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.  (3rd ed.) 
Harvard (facsimile reprint with notes). 1972.

background leading
to the writing of the Principia Mathematica: 

Newton’s Principia for the Common Reader.  S.
Chandrasekhar.  (Oxford: 1995). 
          QA 803.C48.1995

The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural
         (= English translation by Cohen and Whitman).
Berkeley: 1999. 
          QA 803.N413.1999

Cohen.  Introduction to Newton’s  Principia.  (Cambridge, Mass.: 1971)

          (For the story of the falling apple, see pp. 299-301)

Cohen.  The Newtonian
Revolution with illustrations of the Transformation of Scientific Ideas. 

(Cambridge: 1980)  QC7.C66

Isaac Newton’s
Papers and Letters on Natural Philosophy and Related Documents

English translation by Cohen, Schofield, and Hall. 
        2nd ed.     (Cambridge, Mass.: 1978).

 Sir Isaac Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and his System of the World.  Motte, Cajori, and Crawford.  (Berkeley: c.
1934)                QA803.A45.1934


Famous Quotations:

"If I have seen further (than you and Descartes) it is by standing upon the
shoulders of Giants."  (Letter to Robert Hooke, Feb. 5, 1675-6).
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been
only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then
finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."  (from Brewster, Memoirs of
[1855], vol. II, ch. 27)


Outline of Contents: Principia

Author’s Preface to Reader (translation by Andrew Motte, 1729)

Definitiones (text with notes)
Axiomata sive Leges Motus (text with notes)
Liber Primus: De Motu Corporum [without resistence]

Sectio I: De methodo rationum primarum & ultimarum, cujus ope sequentia demonstrantur.
Sectio II: De inventione virium centripetarum
Sectio III: De motu corporum in conicis sectionibus excentricis.
Sectio IV: De inventione orbium ellipticorum, parabolicorum & hyperbolicorum ex umbilico dato.
Sectio V: Inventio orbium ubi umbilicus neuter datur.
Sectio VI: De inventione motuum in orbibus datis.
Sectio VII: De corporum ascensu & decensu rectilineo.
Sectio VIII: De inventione orbium in quibus corpora viribus quibuscunque centripetis agitata revolvuntur.
Sectio IX: De motu corporum in orbibus mobilibus, deque motu apsidum.
Sectio X: De motu corporum in superficiebus datis, deque funipendulorum motu reciproco.
Sectio XI: De motu corporum viribus centripetis se mutuo pententium.
Sectio XII: De corporum sphaericorum viribus attractivis.
Sectio XIII: De corporum non sphaericorum viribus attractivis.
Sectio XIV: De motu corporum minimorum, quae viribus centripetis ad
singulas magni alicujus corporis partes tendentibus agitantur.

Liber Secundus: De Motu Corporum [with resistence]

Sectio I: De motu corporum quibus resistitur in ratione velocitatis.
Sectio II: De motu corporum quibus resistitur in duplicata ratione velocitatum.
Sectio III: De motu corporum quibus resistitur partim in ratione velocitatis, partim in ejusdem ratione duplicata.
Sectio IV: De corporum circulari motu in mediis resistentibus.
Sectio V: De densitate & compressione fluidorum, deque hydrostatica.
Sectio VI: De motu & resistentia corporum funependulorum.
Sectio VII: De motu fluidorum & resistentia projectilium.
Sectio VIII: De motu per fluida propagato.
Section IX: De motu circulari fluidorum.

Liber Tertius: De Mundi Systemate
Preface (translation by Andrew Motte)
Regulae Philosophandi (text with notes)

(Tides: text with notes) notes)

Scholium Generale

Characteristics of Newton’s Latin:


tall “s”
. period after (Roman) numeral to indicate use as a number, often ordinal.
See Characteristics of Post-Classical Latin: Orthography

Grammar and Syntax

*use of indirect statement (e.g. the Laws and corollaries are in indirect statement)

*a/ab + ablative thing used to express means: “by”
ad + gerund(ive)
*dative gerund(ive) to express purpose (“for _____ing; to _____”)

4th and 5th declension nouns (motus, status, fluxux)
3rd and 4th conjugation futures (-am, -es, etc.)
comparative adverbs (-ius)

Word Order:

*adjective-preposition-noun word order
*demonstrative adjectives and adjectives of quantity may come after the noun
(corpus omne; vis illa; vis aliqua; corpus aliud)
*initial est, etc. used as linking verbs, not existential “there is,” etc.


*quatenus: to the degree that; as much as; to the extent that
*tam . . . quam (so . . as; both . . . and)
*ut/uti + individual words as examples: “as ______”
-ce added to pronouns, etc.
*pro: for; in proportion to
*secundum (prep. + acc.): “according to”
*vel . . . vel: “either . . . or”
* vis, (gen. vis, dat. vi, acc. vim, abl. vi; pl. nom./acc: vires, gen.virium, dat./abl. viribus) (3rd declension “super” i-stem)
pronouns/adjectives: aliquis; quivis; idem; uterque; quisquis

Word Formation:

*-tūdō, -tūdinis, f. (altitudo)
*-tiō/-siō, tiōnis/ -si!nis, f. (coniunctio, oppositio)

*-trix, (tric-) 3rd decl. adjective suffix (= English “-ive”)
*-āris, -e (lunaris, solaris, luminaris)
*-icus, -a, -um (Atlanticus, Aethiopicus)
*-ālis, e
*-ōsus, -a, -um
-ēnsis, -e (Chilensis)
*-ānus, -a, -um (meridianus, Peruvianus)

*-scō, -scere (intumesco)

*-ē (distincte