Newton's principles: scientists discovered hundreds of copies, including the originals with the author's notes

Scientists have found copies of the original Newton's Principles

Copies of the first editions of the unique records of Isaac Newton's Principles were discovered by the scholars. Over the years, they were included in archives, collections of various universities. It is known that in the 18th century 'Newton's Principles' belonged to the mathematician and philosopher Jean-Jacques Dort de Mairan. His signature is on the title page.

Then the publication was in the collection of the physicist of the University of California, Ernest Watson. The white snake apparently served as a bookmark for him, holding the pages from below. 'Newton's Principles', or rather their original version, was considered. to be lost.


It was difficult to collect copies and this work turned out to be scrupulous and close to detective work. It turns out that the new census multiplied the number of copies of The Principles, the first edition was published in 1687. The last census took place in 1953. It helped to find 189 copies.

And about 200 more undocumented copies were in private and public collections. Mordechai Feingold, professor of history of science and humanities, Keith Van Nuys Page at Caltech, says that the scholars felt like Sherlock Holmes while searching for the lost copies.

In addition, by analyzing the marks and markings made on the margins of some books, the scholars suggested that some of them may have been made by the author, and then copied in the same sequence to be reserved for a select group of experienced mathematicians.


Actually, the original of Isaac Newton itself can be seen in the main copy, which is kept in the Huntington Library, the Art Museum and the Botanical Garden. Newton corrected errors in the text and made editorial additions, some of which were included in later editions of the Principles.