Issac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (7:01 min)
A manuscript of Issac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica was sold a few years ago by Christie’s at an auction for fine printed books and manuscripts. It broke an auction record for the highest sale price of a printed scientific book at $3,719,500. That was nearly four times the initial estimate. The manuscript, also known simply as Principia, is considered to be “one of the most important works in the history of science.” The text contains classical mechanics, laws of planetary motion and, most famously, Newton’s universal law of gravity. With mathematics, Issac Newton’s work helped shed light on a branch of science that up until that point was shrouded in darkness and hypotheses. While Newton’s theories were not immediately accepted, later on, no one could rationally deny him. It was published in 1687 in Latin. Later an English translation was made in 1728. The copy that sold at auction was in impeccable condition. The description from Christie’s website stated that it only had minor signs of wear with some scuffing. It is important to note that this book is in its original form and has never been restored. It is a first edition and bound in fully inlaid red morocco with gold leaf and black detailing. Only one other copy has sold at auction with such a binding, making this copy quite rare.
I made this video a couple of years ago as a way to approach the work. I found the audio on Libravox and have a copy of ‘Principia.’ I bought a set of the Great Books for $49 and one volume has the Principia. So, my copy cost me about a dollar. I can skate around my house holding a leather bound gilt edged hardcover copy of one of the most important books ever written. Someone paid $3,719,500 to get an original copy, but I have something close to that original work. I watched the video last night and liked the changing hues of color in the fire. I made the video years ago and haven’t watched it in a long time. Later I put the video on again and picked up my copy of Principia and followed along with the reader on the video. Repetitio mater studorium est – the Latin phrase for ‘repetition is the mother of learning.’ I figure if I bombard my hippocampus with enough of Issac Newton’s words and thoughts I will be one step closer to Issac Newton.
I’m thrilled to be associated with Issac Newton even if it is through a tweet for this post. I enjoy simply reposting the picture of Newton with his prism and telescope and books … and ideas. He was born on Christmas day…