22 June 2010
NEWTON, Isaac. Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica. Cambridge: [printed by Cornelius Crownfield at the University Press], 1713.
4o (234 x 190 mm.) Engraved colophon of Cambridge University on title, one folding engraved plate, numerous woodcut diagrams. (Some marginal dampstaining, minor marginal worming to a few leaves, E1 with lower blank corner repaired). Contemporary blind-paneled calf (rebacked in period style).
Second edition. Published twenty-six years after the first, the second edition of Newton's Principia was printed at the Cambridge University Press, which Richard Bentley had recently revived. "The greatest work in the history of science ... The Principia provided the great synthesis of the cosmos, proving finally its physical unity. Newton showed that the important and dramatic aspects of nature were subject to the universal law of gravitation could be explained, in mathematical terms, with a single physical theory ... for the first time a single mathematical law could explain the motion of objects on earth as well as the phenomena of the heavens. The whole cosmos is composed of inter-connecting parts influencing each other according to these laws. It was this grand conception that produced a general revolution in human thought, equalled perhaps only by that following Darwin's Origin of Species" (PMM). This edition, edited by Roger Cotes, contains his important preface (in which he attacks the Cartesian philosophy), a second preface by Newton, and substantial additions, the chapters on the lunar theory and the theory of comets being much enlarged. Only 750 copies of this edition were printed. Babson 12; Wallis II, 8; see PMM 161.
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