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Principia v. Euclid's Elements

  1. Jul 24, 2010 #1
    I'm looking to start working through one of these books. I don't read latin, so clearly it would have to be translated. There are so many editions of these works that I am having a really difficult time deciding which to get. The amazon.com reviews for all of them are good.

    I hope this is the proper section for this, I did not see any other book suggestion/review section. If I am wrong, I apologise.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2010 #2


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    Just out of curiosity, why do you want to?
  4. Jul 24, 2010 #3
    Curiosity and a passion for mathematics.
  5. Jul 24, 2010 #4
    if you mean Russell/Whitehead's Principia Mathematicae I've never heard of anyone who has actually read through it all. It might be funny to finally see the proof that 1+1=2 though. I've got this version of Newton's Principia
    & it's good. He & Whitman figured a new translation was necessary because the last one uses archaic 1700s english, which is at best hard to read. They spent a total of about 15 years on the translation & the guide to it, which is just about as long as the book itself.

    In my searching I found an edition edited by Stephen Hawking but I don't know much more about it except I don't think it's the same translation as Cohen's & Whitman's.

    euclid's elements
  6. Jul 25, 2010 #5


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    Take a look at the top of this page and see where I moved this thread. :smile:
  7. Jul 25, 2010 #6
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Jul 25, 2010 #7
    Ah, it was in Academic Guidance. I looked at all the subforums but I never figured it would be in there! :P Thanks.

    I will take a look at those editions mentioned above, I was just wondering which one(s) most people were reading. Thank you
  9. Jul 25, 2010 #8
  10. Jul 25, 2010 #9
    which one is that? One of the reviewers says the Amazon page says it's the Cohen translation but it actually isn't; it's a cheap reproduction of the Motte/Cajori translation. The cover picture says one thing, then the preview is a different one. Cohen's new translation is close to 1000 pages long. Get whichever version you want, but I just wonder if you noticed the confusion about which version that page linked to.
  11. Jul 25, 2010 #10
    I honestly didn't notice. I guess I'll figure it out when it gets here.
  12. Jul 25, 2010 #11


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    I have the Whitman/Cohen edition of Newton's Principia. I haven't worked through it "seriously" yet, but I think it's worth the extra cost because half of it is historical background and commentary. Newton's language (even with the modernized translation) and geometrical approach are so different from the way we teach/learn classical mechanics nowadays that most people (certainly including me) need all the help they can get when reading it.
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