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This page contains a directory for books by and about Isaac Newton. As Galambos said—as the integrator of the non-volitional science—Newton stands at the focal point of history.

Galambos also pointed out that Newton's must magnificent creation was not his laws of motion and optics. But rather his statement that "… the universe is comprehensible." And then laid out the method of comrehending it. Which we know as "The Scientific Method." It was this that allowed us to continuously create new and useful knowldge. And to evaluate existing knowledge for correctness. And know that a hyothesis had now become a theory.

Galambos often mentioned the two beautiful statements of Newton. Which seem to so aptly describe him and his achievement

"If I have seen father than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."[ 1 ]

And,

"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 sea-shore
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."[ 2 ]


Directory

  1. The System of the World-Neal Stephenson
  2. The Principia-Newton
  3. Sir Isaac Newton-Andrade Galambos' Preferred Book
  4. The life of Sir Isaac Newton-Brewster
  5. Biography - Sir Isaac Newton-Video
  6. Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution-Christianson
  7. Memoirs of the Life, Writings And Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton-Brewster
  8. Introducing Newton and Classical Physics - William Rankin
  9. Newton's Dark Secrets - DVD
  10. Sir Isaac Newton: Gravity of Genius - DVD
  11. The Life of Isaac Newton - Westfall Paperback
  12. The Life of Isaac Newton - Westfall (Hardcover
  13. Never at Rest : A Biography of Isaac Newton - Westfall (Paperback)
  14. Newton's Gift : How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World - Berlinski (Paperback)
  15. Newton's Gift : How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World - Berlinski (Hardcover)

The System of the World (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 3)
by Neal Stephenson)
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From Publishers Weekly
The colossal and impressive third volume (after Quicksilver and The Confusion) of Stephenson's magisterial exploration of the origins of the modern world in the scientific revolution of the baroque era begins in 1714. Daniel Waterhouse has returned to England, hoping to mediate the feud between Sir Isaac Newton and Leibniz, both of whom claim to have discovered the calculus and neither of whom is showing much scientific rationality in the dispute. This brawl takes place against the background of the imminent death of Queen Anne, which threatens a succession crisis as Jacobite (Stuart, Catholic) sympathizers confront supporters of the Hanoverian succession.

Aside from the potential effect of the outcome on the intellectual climate of England, these political maneuverings are notable for the role played by trilogy heroine Eliza de la Zour, who is now wielding her influence over Caroline of Ansbach, consort of the Hanoverian heir. Eliza has risen from the streets to the nobility without losing any of her creativity or her talents as a schemer; nor has outlaw Jack Shaftoe lost any of his wiliness. What he may have lost is discretion, since he oversteps the boundaries of both law and good sense far enough to narrowly escape the hangman. In the end, reluctant hero Waterhouse prevails against the machinations of everybody else, and scientific (if not sweet) reason wins by a nose. The symbol of that victory is the inventor Thomas Newcomen standing (rather like a cock crowing) atop the boiler of one of his first steam engines. This final volume in the cycle is another magnificent portrayal of an era, well worth the long slog it requires of Stephenson's many devoted readers.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine
The conclusion to The Baroque Cycle is a veritable doorstop, but a doorstop perhaps worth its weight in 18th–century gold coins—especially to those who need a reminder about the dangerous misuses of science and "progress." Critics can't heap enough praise on Stephenson's eloquent narration, true–to–life characters, and impeccable plotting ("generated via Waterhouse's Logic Mills," says the San Francisco Chronicle). Stephenson exquisitely unearths Baroque history, too, from mints to gardens to Jacobites. While compelling, you'll best appreciate this epic history-romance-science fiction story "once you have a solid liberal arts education under your belt" (Chronicle). Stephenson mostly gets away with his philosophical pedantry because he's so smart and inventive. If you have the courage to delve in, you won't be disappointed. And if you can't bring yourself to start with Quicksilver, System includes a preface relating "he story thus far" that reviewers found helpful enough.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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The Principia
by Isaac Newton, I. Bernard Cohen (Translator), Anne Whitman (Translator)
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From Library Journal
The publisher claims that this is the first new translation of Newton from the Latin in 270 years! This text is based on the 1726 third edition, which was the final version corrected by Newton. This reprint additionally includes extracts from the earlier versions plus up-to-date mathematical forms.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Physics Today
"Cohen and Whitman's translation deserves to become the new standard…"
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Sir Isaac Newton: His Life and Work (Paperback)
by Edward N. Andrade
Price: from $0.25

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The Life of Sir Isaac Newton (Unknown Binding)
by David Brewster
Available from some sellers for around $40.00

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Biography - Sir Isaac Newton (1998)
This is a biography in video foramt

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Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution (Oxford Portraits in Science)
by Gale E. Christianson
Average Customer Review: ∗∗∗∗
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up. This is not just a great biography. It's one of the best-written science books around for young people. Christianson has sifted through the historical documents and accounts of Newton to paint a convincing and intelligent picture of the complex and at times irascible genius. Even more remarkable, the biographical portrait he presents is a compelling story. It begins with a beheading?that of Charles I?and ends with the poetic image of visitors to Newton's gravesite pausing "in silent tribute to the sacred permanence of the dead." The author demonstrates a remarkable sense of Newton and his times. For example, while many other biographers struggle to explain his experiments in alchemy, Christianson puts them in context of the great scientist trying to unravel the mysteries of the atomic world with the best tools available to him. The narrative also shows how Newton changed as he grew older: from a young, intense, reclusive academic to a living legend justifiably vain about his reputation. Reproductions of documents, Newton's sketches, and paintings of well-known figures illustrate this fine book.?Alan Newman, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Scientific American
Born early on Christmas morning of 1642, his illiterate father recently dead, Isaac Newton was raised by his grandmother. His life was fed by his vigorous mind and hands; the lonely boy read widely and filled his days with skywatching, kites, sundials, carving and model making. He attended boarding school near his home, ranking second to last among 80 students, but he graduated at 18 the star of the school and went on to the University of Cambridge. A new college graduate, his genius yet unrecognized, he returned home at age 22, after the university was closed by the coming of plague.

For almost two years, he worked alone, establishing the modern methods and much of the matter of theoretical physics for two centuries: the ideas of the calculus, its application to motion for apple and moon alike, gravitation made semiquantitative and perhaps universal, and the nature of white light and color. The resemblance to the young Einstein at the Patent Office in Bern is evident; the human differences between Newton, without wife or nearby friends, and Einstein's happier world are manifest. Less a scientific biography than a personal one, it does not try to popularize Newton's physics. Of course, it includes his entire career, his litigious rivalries, his work style, so secretive and shy, and his voluminous accomplishments, until a complex emotional breakdown took him away to official London at age 52.

Newton died wealthy and celebrated, even rather less lonely through his niece, a famous beauty, and her slightly scandalous high-society circle.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Memoirs of the Life, Writings And Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (Paperback)
by David Brewster

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Introducing Newton and Classical Physics (Paperback)
by William Rankin

Book Description
Newton was arguable the greatest scientific genius of all time and yet remains a mysterious figure.

Book Info
(Icon Books) Explains Newton's ideas in mechanics, mathematics, and optics, the foundation for later theories, including Einstein's. Previous edition: c1997. Softcover.

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NOVA: Newton's Dark Secrets (DVD)
Item no: NOVA444

He was a 17th century Einstein, who revolutionized the thinking and outlook of his age. In the midst of his astonishing breakthroughs in physics, optics, and calculus, Isaac Newton was also searching out hidden meanings in the Bible and pursuing the covert art of alchemy. NOVA recreates the unique climate of late 17th-century England, where a fascination with science and mathematics coexisted with extreme views on religious doctrine.

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Biography - Sir Isaac Newton: Gravity of Genius
(A&E DVD Archives) (2000) - DVD Format

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The Life of Isaac Newton (Canto original series) (Paperback)
by Richard S. Westfall
"Isacc Newton was born early on Christmas Day 1642, in the manor house of Woolsthorpe near the village of Colsterworth, seven miles south of Grantham…"

From Kirkus Reviews
A condensed version of Westfall's 1981 biography of Newton, Never at Rest (was $100, now about $35), that nevertheless displays a high level of scholarship and detail. Westfall (History and Philosophy of Science/Indiana University) clearly has pored over the letters and papers that accumulated over Newton's 83-year lifetime (1642-1727), including the theological and alchemical writings as well as the all- important Opticks and Principia. There's a presumption that the reader appreciates the revolution in science wrought by Newton, and the fundamental philosophical disputes between him and his contemporaries: Newton raging against the Cartesians with all their hypothetical and vortex-ridden speculations in contrast to his own theory-grounded-in-experiment approach. But while one can acknowledge the genius that was Newton, not even Westfall--with his consummate understanding, fair-mindedness, and sympathy--can make the man lovable. There are of course, the circumstances of the scientist's life: His father died before he was born, and, when he was three, his mother remarried, leaving the boy to be raised by his maternal grandparents. Without undue emphasis on Freud, Westfall makes clear that such beginnings contributed to the loneliness and isolation, the neuroses, obsessions, and paranoia that characterized the life. The maligning of Robert Hooke, the undermining of the astronomer Flamsteed, and the vicious attack on Leibniz over priority in the invention of calculus add nothing to Newton's luster. Still, the scientist mellowed in the end. He presided over the Royal Society, gained income from his position at the Mint, was generous to his many relatives, and enjoyed the company of his remarkable niece in his house in London. On his deathbed, Newton refused the sacraments, confirming his lifelong anti-Trinitarianism (which could not otherwise be revealed in public). An altogether admirable job of scholarship, whose weightiness is balanced by the surfacing, from time to time, of Westfall's dry humor. (Six halftones; nine line drawings.) -- Copyright © 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition
.

Review
'That this is the best biography of Newton is easily and truthfully said ... surely no one is going to repeat Westfall's immense and shrewdly conducted task in this century at least.' New Scientist '... Westfall has organised his enormous task beautifully and done our most elusive worthy proud.' M. Ratcliffe, The Times '... It provides a masterly, well-documented summary of contemporary views of all the many facets of Newton's astoundingly wide-ranging career ... and will be essential reading for aspiring Newtonian scholars.' Marie Boas Hall, Nature

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The Life of Isaac Newton (Hardcover)
by Richard S. Westfall
"Issac Newton was born early on Christmas Day 1642, in the manor house of Woolsthorpe near the village of Colsterworth, seven miles south of Grantham…"

From Kirkus Reviews
A condensed version of Westfall's 1981 biography of Newton, Never at Rest (was $100, now about $35), that nevertheless displays a high level of scholarship and detail. Westfall (History and Philosophy of Science/Indiana University) clearly has pored over the letters and papers that accumulated over Newton's 83-year lifetime (1642-1727), including the theological and alchemical writings as well as the all- important Opticks and Principia. There's a presumption that the reader appreciates the revolution in science wrought by Newton, and the fundamental philosophical disputes between him and his contemporaries: Newton raging against the Cartesians with all their hypothetical and vortex-ridden speculations in contrast to his own theory-grounded-in-experiment approach. But while one can acknowledge the genius that was Newton, not even Westfall--with his consummate understanding, fair-mindedness, and sympathy--can make the man lovable. There are of course, the circumstances of the scientist's life: His father died before he was born, and, when he was three, his mother remarried, leaving the boy to be raised by his maternal grandparents. Without undue emphasis on Freud, Westfall makes clear that such beginnings contributed to the loneliness and isolation, the neuroses, obsessions, and paranoia that characterized the life. The maligning of Robert Hooke, the undermining of the astronomer Flamsteed, and the vicious attack on Leibniz over priority in the invention of calculus add nothing to Newton's luster. Still, the scientist mellowed in the end. He presided over the Royal Society, gained income from his position at the Mint, was generous to his many relatives, and enjoyed the company of his remarkable niece in his house in London. On his deathbed, Newton refused the sacraments, confirming his lifelong anti-Trinitarianism (which could not otherwise be revealed in public). An altogether admirable job of scholarship, whose weightiness is balanced by the surfacing, from time to time, of Westfall's dry humor. (Six halftones; nine line drawings.) -- Copyright © 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition
.

Review
'That this is the best biography of Newton is easily and truthfully said ... surely no one is going to repeat Westfall's immense and shrewdly conducted task in this century at least.' New Scientist '... Westfall has organised his enormous task beautifully and done our most elusive worthy proud.' M. Ratcliffe, The Times '... It provides a masterly, well-documented summary of contemporary views of all the many facets of Newton's astoundingly wide-ranging career ... and will be essential reading for aspiring Newtonian scholars.' Marie Boas Hall, Nature

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Never at Rest : A Biography of Isaac Newton (Cambridge Paperback Library) (Paperback)
by Richard S. Westfall
"Newton's name in the matriculation book of Cambridge University on 8 July 1661, together with those of sixteen other students recently admitted to Trinity College…"

Review
'This monumental scientific biography provides a masterly, well-documented summary of contemporary views of all the many facets of Newton's astoundingly wide-ranging career.' Nature
'The first detailed biography of Newton written by a professional historian of science who, over the years, has mastered the prodigious literature, weighed it judiciously, and still manages to reveal new insights by delving into the mass of Newton's unpublished writings. Westfall has produced a work of major significance.' Science
'A monumental biography, and a delight to read.' The New Yorker

Book Description
This richly detailed biography captures both the personal life and the scientific career of Isaac Newton, presenting a fully rounded picture of Newton the man, the scientist, the philosopher, the theologian, and the public figure. Professor Westfall treats all aspects of Newton's career, but his account centres on a full description of Newton's achievements in science. Thus the core of the work describes the development of the calculus, the experimentation that altered the direction of the science of optics, and especially the investigations in celestial dynamics that led to the law of universal gravitation.

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Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World (Paperback)
by David Berlinski
"Issac Newton was born in the hamlet of Wolingsthorpe in 1642 and died in London in 1727…"

Amazon.com
Who else could have constructed the basis for modern science out of an apple? Sir Isaac Newton, the celebrated genius behind the Principia Mathematica, lived inside his head--but not so much as to make his story dull. Mathematician and writer David Berlinski takes a new tack on the man's biography by approaching it through his work. Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World does explore Newton's strange childhood and eventual career in government, but it stays largely focused on the Cambridge years and especially on the development of the Principia.

Berlinski's uniquely impressionistic prose is perfect for his subject, whose penchant for withdrawal, depression, and misanthropy has driven many writers to despair. He instead fills the reader with visceral revulsion for the plague and ecstatic delight in a perfect English summer day before turning to intellectual matters. The author's knack for explaining tricky matters of mechanics is awe-inspiring; he moves with ease between captivating metaphor and precise mathematical language. Reading the Principia, even in English translation, is more of a chore than a delight, but Newton's Gift is precisely the opposite. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
Isaac Newton (1642-1721) invented or coinvented calculus, discovered gravity and organized physics around mathematical laws. These and other findings in math and optics established him as the great mind of his age. Retiring, introspective and sometimes difficult, he also devoted much of his time to fine points of Christian theology. Known for hit books about math, Berlinski (A Tour of the Calculus; The Advent of the Algorithm) devotes this compact, engaging and readable volume to Newton's life, mind and accomplishments. Mixing snapshots of Sir Isaac's life and times with explanations of what the great man discovered, Berlinski hopes to produce not a detailed biographical record but "a sense of the man" and of how his mind worked. Berlinski's prose adapts with equal ease to historical background and to mathematical explanations: he's sometimes glib, but often a pleasure to read. (The text includes only the barest, most necessary graphs and equations: an appendix goes into greater detail.) The volume draws clean connections between Newton's works and his life, and links both to big questions dear to Berlinski: Did Newton inaugurate two centuries of attempts to explain all of life through math and physics? If he did, how? Are those attempts ending now? And how, exactly, does math relate to physicsAor to anything else in the world? Some readers will engage with Berlinski as he explores these philosophical tangents; others will simply enjoy his explication of Newton, whom Berlinski very plausibly labels "the last great natural philosopher whose vision about the world can be expressed in an intuitive way"Anot to mention "the largest figure in the history of western thought." (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Newton's Gift : How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World (Hardcover)
by David Berlinski
"Isaac Newt was born in the hamlett of Wolingsthorpe in 1642 and died in London in 1727…"

Amazon.com
Who else could have constructed the basis for modern science out of an apple? Sir Isaac Newton, the celebrated genius behind the Principia Mathematica, lived inside his head--but not so much as to make his story dull. Mathematician and writer David Berlinski takes a new tack on the man's biography by approaching it through his work. Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World does explore Newton's strange childhood and eventual career in government, but it stays largely focused on the Cambridge years and especially on the development of the Principia.

Berlinski's uniquely impressionistic prose is perfect for his subject, whose penchant for withdrawal, depression, and misanthropy has driven many writers to despair. He instead fills the reader with visceral revulsion for the plague and ecstatic delight in a perfect English summer day before turning to intellectual matters. The author's knack for explaining tricky matters of mechanics is awe-inspiring; he moves with ease between captivating metaphor and precise mathematical language. Reading the Principia, even in English translation, is more of a chore than a delight, but Newton's Gift is precisely the opposite. --Rob Lightner

From Publishers Weekly
Isaac Newton (1642-1721) invented or coinvented calculus, discovered gravity and organized physics around mathematical laws. These and other findings in math and optics established him as the great mind of his age. Retiring, introspective and sometimes difficult, he also devoted much of his time to fine points of Christian theology. Known for hit books about math, Berlinski (A Tour of the Calculus; The Advent of the Algorithm) devotes this compact, engaging and readable volume to Newton's life, mind and accomplishments. Mixing snapshots of Sir Isaac's life and times with explanations of what the great man discovered, Berlinski hopes to produce not a detailed biographical record but "a sense of the man" and of how his mind worked. Berlinski's prose adapts with equal ease to historical background and to mathematical explanations: he's sometimes glib, but often a pleasure to read. (The text includes only the barest, most necessary graphs and equations: an appendix goes into greater detail.) The volume draws clean connections between Newton's works and his life, and links both to big questions dear to Berlinski: Did Newton inaugurate two centuries of attempts to explain all of life through math and physics? If he did, how? Are those attempts ending now? And how, exactly, does math relate to physicsAor to anything else in the world? Some readers will engage with Berlinski as he explores these philosophical tangents; others will simply enjoy his explication of Newton, whom Berlinski very plausibly labels "the last great natural philosopher whose vision about the world can be expressed in an intuitive way"Anot to mention "the largest figure in the history of western thought." (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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End Notes:

  1. This tells us two things. That Nweton recognizied the significnce of his own great achievement. And second that he understood he could not have done his work without the achievements of his ideological antecendants. On whose shoulder he stood. Newton, [1885] vol II, ch. 27
    Return to Text
  2. from Brewster, Memoirs of Newton, [1885] vol II, ch. 27
    View book details
    Return to Text


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