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Books for a Paper on "The Development of Newton's Mechanistic Universe

  1. Aug 28, 2014 #1
    Not sure if I posted this in the correct area, but hopefully it will be moved if I haven't done so.

    I'm here asking you guys if you know any books relevant to writing a paper on the subject of "The Development of Newton's mechanistic Universe - Principia (1687)." It's for a history class, so it's not a mathematical dissection of Principia.

    I was just assigned this today, but I'm guessing my prof wants a detailed description of pertinent events leading up to, and including, Newton's writing of his treatise on mechanics, Principia. I went to my university's library and snagged some books, but they're mostly biographies. I'm looking for something more focused on the development of his theories on mechanics.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2014 #2


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    Google is your friend here. There are Wiki articles on Newton and the Principia, both of which will contain references.
  4. Aug 28, 2014 #3
    Figured I'd reach out here to see if anyone had recommendations.
  5. Aug 29, 2014 #4


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    I think the right place to look are good biographies (which are rare on science; with "good" I mean those that have a good coverage on the science)

    J. Gleick, Isaac Newton

    which hasn't really convinced me concerning the analysis of his science.

    I'm sure there is a lot better about this, but I don't know it. I only know the story that Newton wasn't very proud about the topics treated in his Principia. He was much more into alchemy than physics, and Halley had to insist that Newton must write up his discoveries about the mathematical description of (celestial) mechanics, including the universal Law of Gravity.

    Maybe the Wikipedia article on Newton is a starting point to find the relevant (scientific!) sources about your topic. Note that it can only be a starting point. Usually the Wikipedia is not considered citeable in scientific papers (although this is often unjustified, but sometimes indeed not ;-)).
  6. Sep 5, 2014 #5
    Thanks for the insightful reply vanhees! Very helpful!
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