Isaac Newton

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Isaac Newton

by James Gleick

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | June 8, 2004 | Trade Paperback

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Isaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral—an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names—mass, gravity, velocity—things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo’s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation.

James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of his generation, brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion—ideas so basic to the twenty-first century, it can truly be said: We are all Newtonians.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 pages, 7.98 × 5.15 × 0.58 in

Published: June 8, 2004

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1400032954

ISBN - 13: 9781400032952

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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– More About This Product –

Isaac Newton

by James Gleick

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 pages, 7.98 × 5.15 × 0.58 in

Published: June 8, 2004

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1400032954

ISBN - 13: 9781400032952

About the Book

In this original, sweeping, and intimate biography, Gleick moves between a comprehensive historical portrait and a dramatic focus on Newton's significant letters and unpublished notebooks to illuminate the real importance of his work.

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 What Imployment Is He Fit For? Medieval, in some disrepair, the Woolsthorpe farmhouse nestled into a hill near the River Witham. With its short front door and shuttered windows, its working kitchen, and its bare floors of ash and linden laid on reeds, it had belonged to Newton''s forebears for just twenty years. In back stood apple trees. Sheep grazed for acres around. Isaac was born in a small room at the top of the stairs. By the terms of feudal law this house was a manor and the fatherless boy was its lord, with seigniorial authority over a handful of tenant farmers in nearby cottages. He could not trace his ancestry back past his grandfather, Robert, who lay buried in the churchyard nearly a mile to the east. Still, the boy expected to live managing the farm in the place of the father he had never known. His mother, Hannah Ayscough, had come from gentlefolk. Her brother, the Reverend William Ayscough, studied at Cambridge University on his way to joining the Anglican clergy; now he occupied a village rectory two miles away. When Isaac was three years old and his widowed mother near thirty, she accepted a marriage offer from another nearby rector, Barnabas Smith, a wealthy man twice her age. Smith wanted a wife, not a stepson; under the negotiated terms of their marriage Hannah abandoned Isaac in the Woolsthorpe house, leaving him to his grandmother''s care. War flared in the countryside all through his youth. The decade-long Great Rebellion began in the year of
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From the Publisher

Isaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral—an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names—mass, gravity, velocity—things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo’s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation.

James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of his generation, brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion—ideas so basic to the twenty-first century, it can truly be said: We are all Newtonians.

From the Jacket

Isaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral--an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names--"mass, "gravity, "velocity--things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo''s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation.
James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of "his generation, brings the reader into Newton''s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion--ideas so basic to the twenty-first century, it can truly be said: We are all Newtonians.

About the Author

James Gleick is an author, reporter, and essayist. His writing on science and technology–including Chaos, Genius, Faster, and What Just Happened–has been translated into thirty languages. He lives in New York.

Editorial Reviews

"The biography of choice. . . . Newton the man emerges from the shadows."-- The New York Times Book Review “Succinct, elegant. . . . A sharp, beautifully written introduction to the man." -- The Wall Street Journal “A masterpiece of brevity and concentration. Isaac Newton sees its angular subject in the round, presenting him as scientist and magician, believer and heretic, monster and man. . . . It will surely stand as the definitive study for a very long time to come. Fortunate Newton!” --John Banville, The Guardian “Gleick [is] a clever tour guide to the minds of great geniuses. . . . Isaac Newton sheds new light on the difficult personality of a deeply enigmatic figure.” --Seattle Post-Intellignceer “Elegant, jewel-like…he does not waste a word… Gleick has given us the man and his mind in their full crazyness.” -- The New York Times “A compelling page-turner. . . . Gleick [is] a clever tour guide to the minds of great geniuses. Isaac Newton sheds new light on the difficult personality of a deeply enigmatic figure.” --Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Beautifully flesh[es] out the alchemical dialectic, its balancing act between the spiritual and the gross.” — The Boston Globe “An elegantly written, insightful work that brings Newton to life and does him justice. . . . Gleick proves to be not only a sound explicator of Newton''s science but also a capable literary stylist, whos
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