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Opticks

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  183 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
"Recommended to all scientists." — Journal of Royal Naval Scientific Service
"The publishers do us a service by issuing this reprint." — The Institute of Physics
"An underpinning for the entire edifice of physics." — Scientific American
A comprehensive survey of eighteenth-century knowledge about all aspects of light, Opticks also offers countless scientific insights by its d
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Paperback, 544 pages
Published May 17th 2012 by Dover Publications (first published June 1st 1952)
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Phenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelBeing and Time by Martin HeideggerFaust by Johann Wolfgang von GoetheOn Aggression by Konrad LorenzThe Republic by Plato
Shimer's Great Book List
54th out of 108 books — 16 voters
Phrenology by Orson Squire FowlerAlchemy and Alchemists by Charles John Samuel ThompsonOpticks by Isaac NewtonLectures on Theoretical Physics by Hendrik Antoon LorentzAether and Matter by Joseph Larmor
Dead Sciences
3rd out of 5 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

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Lotz
Jul 16, 2015 Lotz rated it really liked it
My Design in this Book is not to explain the Properties of Light by Hypotheses, but to propose and prove them by Reason and Experiment

I’ve long wanted to read Newton’s Principia, but its reputation intimidates me. Everyone seems to agree that it is intensely difficult, and I’m sorry to say I haven’t worked up enough nerve to face it yet. But I did still want to read Newton; so as soon as I learned about this book, Newton’s more popular and accessible volume, I snatched it up and happily dug in
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Matt
Jun 03, 2013 Matt added it
Newton played with prisms and wrote about it. A lot. I did the same thing for a fifth grade science fair project but, yeah, his was better.

Opticks is supposed to be much more accessible than The Principia. Which it is, but it will still only appeal to the more meticulous, math-minded among us. Newton’s analysis of the properties of light have historical significance (specifically in regards to white light) and there were numerous equations which looked like they may mean something important. It’
...more
William Schram
Mar 09, 2016 William Schram rated it it was amazing
This groundbreaking treatise on the nature of light was originally written in 1704 by Sir Isaac Newton. This particular book is based on the fourth edition, which was printed in 1730. Using practical and repeatable experiments, Newton demonstrates the nature of light and the origins of color. I'm not sure if this is abridged or not but either way it is quite interesting.

I have read The Principia which is also by Newton, but Opticks is far more understandable and accessible. Principia was mostly
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Erika
Jul 20, 2016 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Great to read this book, although some of the very mathematical parts were over my head. Especially enjoyed reading the details of the many experiments Newton conducted with prisms and lenses, and reading about his color wheel in his own words. Interesting to see how Newton's contributions to Color Theory are carried forward from this point.
Hollis
Feb 07, 2015 Hollis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
A masterpiece of experimental science.
Tiffany N
Dec 26, 2008 Tiffany N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read Cohen's Preface carefully, Einstein's Foreward is negligble.

I enjoyed Newton's precise use of language and his illustrations. Overall, the work was very accessible and must-read material for anyone interested in the history of science or anyone interested in gaining an appreciation of how scientists attempted to explain the natural world using limited means.
Jamie Eastling
Oct 21, 2013 Jamie Eastling rated it really liked it
When people complain that a book doesn't have pictures, I want to slap them with this and tell them to shut up. Newton was brilliant and you see it on full-display in this work although you will probably need to be a little creative in your Google searches to understand some of the terms he uses.
Marts  (Thinker)
Oct 09, 2012 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, 2012-reads
Though not a scientist, to read Newton's views and methodologies employed in his experiments was quite an interesting experience...
Robb
May 04, 2011 Robb is currently reading it
Also reading Newton's biography (Gleik), so doing some original research here.
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Sir Isaac Newton, FRS , was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. His Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated ...more
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“How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts?
Was the eye contrived without skill in Opticks, and the ear without knowledge of sounds?...and these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from phænomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent...?”
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“Whence arises all that order and beauty we see in the world?” 25 likes
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