The Mathematical Principles Underlying Newton's Principia Mathematica

  title={The Mathematical Principles Underlying Newton's Principia Mathematica},
  author={Derek Thomas Whiteside},
  journal={Journal for the History of Astronomy},
  pages={116 - 138}
  • D. T. Whiteside
  • Published 1 August 1970
  • Education
  • Journal for the History of Astronomy
On 18 July 1733, half a dozen years after Isaac Newton's death, Dr William Derham (a close friend during his last years) observed that "S' Is[aac] ... abhorred all Contests.... And for this reason, mainly to avoid being baited by little Smatterers in Mathematicks, he told me, he designedly made his Principia abstruse; but yet so as to be understood by able Mathematicians, who he imagined, by comprehending his Demonstrations, would concurr with him in his Theory"." Forty years before, as Newton… 

Figures from this paper

Newton’s role in the history of Mathematics*
  • G. J. Whitrow
  • History
    Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London
  • 1989
Isaac Newton, who was born on Christmas Day 1642 and died in 1727, was a self-taught mathematician who did not display any outstanding mathematical ability until towards the end of his under graduate
The Principia and continental mathematicians
  • E. Fellmann
  • Education
    Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London
  • 1988
The coincidence alone that I am from Basle might cause the audience to expect that I should be able to tell you something new about the Bernoulli dynasty in respect to today’s topic: unfortunately I
The idea of quantity at the origin of the legitimacy of mathematization in physics
Newton's use of mathematics in mechanics was justified by him from his neo-platonician conception of the physical world that was going along with his «absolute, true and mathematical concepts» such
Did Newton use his calculus in the Principia
A question that is often formulated by people interested in the history of mathematics is: Did Newton use his calculus in the Principia? This question comes very naturally to mind, since Newton
The Inverse Square Law of Gravitation
The view has long been held by historians of science, that Sir Isaac Newton’s original derivation of the inverse square law of gravity, whilst certainly not lacking brevity, most denitely provides
Johann Bernoulli, John Keill and the inverse problem of central forces
Summary Johann Bernoulli in 1710 affirmed that Newton had not proved that conic sections, having a focus in the force centre, were necessary orbits for a body accelerated by an inverse square force.
The Reception of Newton's Gravitational Theory by Huygens, Varignon, and Maupertuis: How Normal Science may be Revolutionary
This paper first discusses the current historical and philosophical framework forged during the last century to account for both the history and the epistemic status of Newton's theory of general
The mathematical form of measurement and the argument for Proposition I in Newton’s Principia
Newton characterizes the reasoning of Principia Mathematica as geometrical, and it is argued that Newton proceeds in this way so that his reasoning can have the ostensive certainty of geometry.


The apotheosis of Newton in art
  • 1967
Axtell's essay on "Locke, Newton and the two cultures
  • JohnLocke: Problems and perspectives
  • 1965
IThreequarter length, seated in a high-backed red armchair, turned towards the right
  • his Catalogue ofseventeenth century portraits in the NationalPortrait Gallery
  • 1963
that the Principia's second book: was radically altered by Newton at various times (mainly in the early 16905)between 1687 and 1713; cf. A. R. Hall
  • 1958
) an impossibly accurate 38°SI'SI' as the computed annual advance of lunar perigee. So much for Whewell's eulogy in his History of the inductive sciences (see n. 7) of Newton's "beautiful geometry
An anecdote, referring to a period some time
  • Cambridge: Keynes MS