Isaac Newton's Principia

Newton’s *Philosophiæ naturalis* (*Principia* for short), lay at the heart of his fame and importance. Although composed in wilfully abstruse Latin, its provision of a single unifying principle to explain the entire cosmos proved hugely influential. In proposing gravity as a universal attractive force affecting comets, falling apples and atoms, Newton revolutionised the sciences, and informed literature, politics, music and innumerable other avenues of Enlightenment endeavour. No less groundbreaking was Newton’s use of mathematics to describe gravity’s effects in terms of his ‘inverse square law’ (every particle attracts every other particle with a force proportional to the product of their weights and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them). It was, however, largely through the writings of others that Newton’s thinking gained ascendency.

**Author:** Isaac Newton

**Title:*** Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica *(London, 1726)

**Shelfmark:** R.2.38

David HughesR.2.38exhibition