Syllabus [SciRev Fall 2008]

For the Week of 11/5/08

Assignment 10


Early Newton

It is Tuesday night and you finally have gotten this far in the assignment page……

Tuesday!  Guess where you should be right now!  You could read your assignments while waiting in line.


Tuesday is the election. 

If you want the right to complain for the next 2, 4, or 6 years, this is the ticket.

Spock Defeats Kirk

Read Westfall pp. 19-109.


Choose from these two.  (I apologize for the poor quality of these PDFs.)


Read “Pure Mathematics” by Anderson and Bos:




Read "From Alchemy To ‘Chymistry’” by William Newman:



Citations to the above readings and additional references for souped up homework.


Andersen, Kirsti, and Henk J. M. Bos. "Pure Mathematics." In The Cambridge History of Science: Early Modern Science (1490-1730), ed. Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston, pp. 696-723. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Andersen-Bos_CambridgeEarlyModCh28PureMath-5.5MB.pdf


Boyer, Carl B. "The History of the Calculus." The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal 1, no. 1 (1970): 60-86.  Boyer wrote the book on the history of the calculus, but this is a very condensed essay on the same topic.  Boyer_HistoryofCalculus-2.3MB.pdf


Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter. The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy : Or, "The Hunting of the Greene Lyon". Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975. –You may find this in the library.  It is a classic that stirred up a lot of scholars.  Below are a couple of articles she wrote.


Dobbs_NewtonAlchemyandTheoryMatter-668KB.pdf – see article for citation information.


Dobbs_Newton_as_Final_Cause-328KB.pdf – see article for citation information.


Kahn, David. "Secrets of Nature : Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe." In Secrets of Nature : Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe, ed. William R. Newman and Anthony Grafton, ?-?? Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001. Kahn-Newman-Grafton-Rosicrucian_Hoax-9.7MB.pdf


Koestler, Arthur. The Sleepwalkers : A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe. New York: Macmillan, 1959.  There is a section on Newton in this book that you already own.


Manuel, Frank Edward. A Portrait of Isaac Newton. Da Capo Press pbk. ed. The Da Capo Series in Science. New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press, 1990. – You may find this in a library near you.  This also got people all riled up.


McGuire, J. E., and P. M. Rattansi. "Newton and the 'Pipes of Pan'." Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 21, no. 2 (1966): 108-143. McGuire-Rattansi_NewtonPipesOfPan-1MB.pdf

             -Included in this article is a short part on music in relation to Newton's alchemical hobbies.


Meli, Domenico Bertoloni. "Mechanics." In The Cambridge History of Science: Early Modern Science (1490-1730), ed. Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston, pp. 632-695. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. to be posted …


Newman, William R. "From Alchemy To "Chymistry"." In The Cambridge History of Science: Early Modern Science (1490-1730), ed. Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston, vol. 3, 497-517. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Newman_FromAlchemyToChemCh21-4.5MB.pdf


Newman, William, and Issac Newton. "Newton's Clavis as Starkey's Key." Isis 78, no. 4 (1987): 564-574. Newman-Newton_Clavis_Starkey_Key-676KB.pdf


Park, David Allen. The How and the Why : An Essay on the Origins and Development of Physical Theory. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988.  This PDF has a couple of appendices that derive Newton’s theorem involving centripital acceleration, the lunar orbit, Kepler’s law of areas, and conic justification.  ParkAppendices-756KB.pdf


Shapiro, Alan E. "Artists' Colors and Newton's Colors." Isis 85, no. 4 (1994): 600-630. Shapiro-Artists_Colors_Newtons_Colors.pdf


Shapiro, Alan E. " The Evolving Structure of Newton's Theory of White Light and Color." Isis 71, no. 2 (1980): 211-235. Shapiro-Evolving_Structure_Newton_White_Light_color-700KB.pdf


Struik, Dirk Jan. A Source Book in Mathematics, 1200-1800.  Source Books in the History of the Sciences. Cambridge, Mass.,: Harvard University Press, 1969. Struik_ed.-Newton-Gregory_BinomialSeries-1.8MB.pdf

          -This the derivation of the binomial series. This was hugely important to the development of the calculus.  If you want to give it a shot.  Go for it.  Read it over and try to figure out how it all fits together.


Westfall, Richard S. Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982.  Images on this page are from this book.  This is the unedited version of the book we are reading in class.  I have posted this PDF of Chapter 4 from this book.  It is the mathematical chapter and has descriptions of the first moments of the calculus (differential and integral) and various other derivations of interest.  A walk through of one of these mathematical monents could make a good souped up essay. If you want more material like this, I can hook you up.  Westfall_Ch4_Never_at_Reft-6.4MB.pdf  [See also the Park (above) for similar material.]


Westfall, Richard S. The Life of Isaac Newton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.  You should own this.

Newton working out some numbers…..

This image is discussed on p. 53 of Westfall reading.


Here is a drawing of the style of telescope discussed ca. p. 81 in the Westfall reading.



Back to Syllabus [SciRev Fall 2008]


Me –





Newton supposedly drew a portrait of Donne on the wall of his domicile in Grantham.

Donne wrote the original “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

It’s a nice poem if you need a break.  The whole idea of collective humanity reminds me of Averroestic or Platonic world-soul stuff that we discussed several weeks ago.


John Donne (1572-1631): Meditation 17: Bell Tolls


 News of Note:


Notice how the Copernican heliocentric paradigm is the only one entertained today. 

What is the reason that a Ptolemaic/Platonic/Aristotelian-Geocentric model is not even considered?

Madrigal-Wired-2008-Nearby Solar System Looks Like Our Own at Time Life Formed



These articles courtesy of Gregory Hollin

Scientists Record Music of the Stars

People still think this is worth pursuing.

First: Sound cannot travel through the “vacuum” of space, therefore what we are hearing is certainly based on some other vibratory phenomenon.  Now, when translating generic vibratory information into an audio track, you have to decide what sort of instrument to play it on.  So my question is: Why wouldn’t it sound like a Star Trek sound effect?  For that matter why not an 18th-century orchestra or a band of kazoos?


Here is a really interesting animation of the heart in action:

The second video is particularly good.  This second video is also available at the following sites:

Here is a link Glassworks site. Click on “Play” to see another

 Here is the Heartworks site: Heartworks


Review Materials:


Anderson_and_Newman-Notes-Review-84KB.pdf [Chaotic notes]


This PDF is a combination of several notes and PowerPoint things.  It is chaotic.  It is applicable for some Ass11 topics too.



Posted: 12/6/08 5:07 PM