Back to the basics: Isaac Newton and the Study of Chronology

To many die-hard historians of science the scholarly activities of in particular early modern natural philosophers are still seen as alien. This is already a great leap forward compared with the attitudes of most of our twentieth century predecessors, who were often point-blank hostile towards these ‘extracurricular’ activities of their heroes. As an aside, many…

Of Mice and Men

When Isaac Newton died, in 1727, the scholarly world was eagerly awaiting the publication of his chronological studies. A topic he had been working on since his mid-thirties, in the soon published Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (January 1728) Newton proposed radically different dates for events such as the Fall of Troy and the voyage…

Finally Famous Pt II!

Part two of my Podcast with Thomas Hornigold at Physical Attraction is out now! Please find it here.

Finally famous!

Dear all, Last week I handed in my thesis on Isaac Newton’s chronological studies, titled: “Prophecy, History and Method: How and Why Isaac Newton studied Chronology”. The image, courtesy of Anca Boon of All Things Beautiful, is me looking smug and absolutely knackered, as I have been working 14-16 hour days for the past months…

Summer thoughts…

Oxford, summer, unusually un-British weather. Currently setting up and drafting a chapter on Newton’s reading practices, with specific focus on his chronological readings. Turns out I find it extremely difficult to turn all the finds I collected over the past three years into a coherent narrative. Whatever happened to creativity?

To the unknown scribe – Isaac Newton’s assistants

Over the past years I have been blogging about many things Newtonian. Some of these are of a more general nature, involving Newton’s life and works, while others are more directly related to my main research project. That main project involves Newton as a reader of books, a taker of notes, and as a composer…

All was light – but was it?

According to many popular books on history of science, the modern world came to be in 1687. That year Isaac Newton published his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, more commonly known as the Principia, which was an instant hit and changed the way we think about the system of the world for good. No more weird Cartesian vortices, but gravitational…

Of alchemy and dogears

Behind this link you will find scans of a book. In a sense it is just a book, a copy of John Marsham’s Canon Chronicus Aegypticus to be precise, which is now in Linda Hall Library in Kansas City. There are many extant copies of this book, but the librarians at Linda Hall did a superb…

SIN meets LSA

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to spend time with some of the wonderful people at Indiana University. Together we worked on all things Newtonian, and in particular on a computational method called Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA). This is a technique that originates from the early 80s and has some of its roots…

Adventures in Huntingtonland, Pt. 2

It is a Friday afternoon, and California is experiencing another heat wave. It is not as hot as a few weeks ago, with temperatures well in the 100s/40s, but my daily bike routine, three miles uphill on Allen Avenue, is a continual challenge. It has been an exciting week.

Adventures in Huntingtonland, Pt. 1

I feel very privileged to be able to write this post. Here I am, sitting behind my desk on a quiet Saturday afternoon in Pasadena, California. The soaring heat of the past weeks has turned into a mellow breeze, and though the week to come promises interesting temperatures once more, it is all right. I…

Newton’s Working Practices (2) – I did it my way…

In our last episode we looked at Isaac Newton’s use of catchwords. Today our focus will be on his citation practices, with special regards to his command of ancient languages. At his grammar school in Grantham, the young Newton had received a basic but thorough training in Latin and Greek. When we look at his…