Posts Tagged ‘William Rankin’

Loosely translates from the Latin, “Of all humans, there is no greater intellect“.
This is the inscription at the base of the statue of Isaac Newton at Trinity College, Cambridge, England.
Today I read “Introducing Newton“, written by William Rankin, (1993©).  The book is basically a dummies guide to Newton.  That doesn’t make it – or him – any less interesting.  It merely describes the level of the book’s content.
Let’s see: invents calculus (check), invents optics (check), redefines the study of physics (check), innovates astronomical dating (check), explains – tides, elliptical orbits and the earth tilting (check, check and check).  And in his spare time investigates God, the divinity of Christ and predicts the end of the world based on the study of religious texts.  Yup, sounds like a full life to me.  Oh, I forgot to mention he was mostly self-taught in math and science.
I guess the closest thing I can find on this side of the pond is our Thomas Jefferson and I’m pretty sure Tom suffers by the comparison.  Anyway, the book is very brief and offers a very readable story explaining the history of science and physics.  I recommend it as a primer to further reading on Newton.  I will look for more myself…  I only wish I had the math skills to more fully appreciate Newton’s work in the original.

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