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The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
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The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  2,569 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In his monumental 1687 work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, known familiarly as the Principia, Isaac Newton laid out in mathematical terms the principles of time, force, and motion that have guided the development of modern physical science. Even after more than three centuries and the revolutions of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, Newtonian phy ...more
Paperback, 991 pages
Published October 20th 1999 by University of California Press (first published July 5th 1686)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ted
Of course I have never read the entire text of this monumental work. I did read several parts of it in the period 1972-1974 when I was studying the History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne, and still have the two volume paperback set printed by the University of California Press in 1974 (originally published by UC in 1934).

There are a lot of mathematical proofs scattered throughout the volumes, which were mostly less interesting to me than parts I could read as simply l
...more
Patrice
What did i learn from this book?

I finally learned why Newton is a genius. Why the planets stay in orbit. Why reason finally and forever took the place of authority. I learned when science was once and for all declared the way to "know". I learned why calculus is necessary and why Newton invented it. I learned why math is the language of the universe. I learned why geometry is so important.

I am in awe of Newton. Everything and everyone who followed him was influenced by him. Not just in the scien
...more
Joshua
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt
I tried. But this is Newton using geometry to explain the calculus behind his theory of gravity. Every few pages, between the charts and equations, he writes a one or two sentence introduction to the proposition about to be proved. I understood those. Mostly. And I could see this is where Newton’s Laws of Motions come from. His proofs are beyond me though.

Interestingly, one of the few other things I could understand, beyond his Preface, was the General Scholium at the end. After describing the h
...more
Conrad
First, A Clarification: The publication I have is the hardcover revision by Florian Cajori of Andrew Motte's 1729 English translation, copyrighted in 1934 by the Regents of the University of California, and published by UC Berkeley and UCLA Press.

I should also note that, although I have read Newton's Principia several times over several years and for various reasons, I doubt I have ever completed the whole book. To do so would be advisable only under limited circumstances.

For whatever reason, Ne
...more
Jeff Gabriel
I don't want to create a whole new shelf for this, but I didn't read it - I gave up after reading as far as I could. My giving up has nothing to do of course with this historical book of the highest importance. However, given that the subject is complex and the language arcane I am afraid I would need an interpreter for both concept and language.

I'll stick to learning my physics from more modern sources. I love reading original sources, and for the things I could grasp this book was very intrigu
...more
Chris Duval
The original book is one of the foundational books for modernity, expounding both mechanics and the calculus while explaining astronomy. (The little digression at the end into theology can be ignored.)
One can imagine an e-edition of this book where, as one reads the description of the ratio of this or that, the relevant lines on the diagram were highlighted. Even better, when areas are described by line segments belonging to the same line, the e-edition could add a side diagram with links to the
...more
Jamie
Sir Isaac Newton is certainly a genius, not that I can validate his many claims. In fact, most of this text was very difficult for me to understand and my free Kindle version had a number of grammatical errors that further complicated matters. The book is in three parts and while the first and second books are very dense with calculations and theories, I still think they help to provide an important foundation for the extrapolations made in the third book. If you don't have the patience and pref ...more
Dipesh
Jan 19, 2014 Dipesh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Newton's followers
Recommended to Dipesh by: Sir Issac Newton
- an ingenious and energetic builder who's astonishingly brilliant at composing gorgeous monuments of the most intensely clever design. Sometimes these appear as great books like the Principia itself. Sometimes they appear in experiments. But we would be wrong to look for a single key which unlocks the whole mystery of Isaac Newton.

The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1729) ... An English translation by Andrew Motte, based on the 1726 3rd edition of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia
...more
Michael
An open door into the mind of the man who revolutionized the way to think about mathematics and physical science. It is technical.
Andrew Venegas
One of the densest books that I've ever read, but also the most elegant and structured.
Iso Cambia
Referenced in A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (p. 4).
Jamie
This book must be among the pillars underlying modern thought since it first introduced calculus. The middle part is very dry, as Newton himself admits. But it is fun to read Newton's Laws of Motion as he originally wrote them and how he arrived at them. For instance, I remember one of my high school teachers saying somthing about when we state Newton's third law it is pretty short, but Newton was very long winded and technical. Not so! "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. ...more
Scott
This book stands as one of the great monuments of science. If you can peer through the ponderous geometric proofs of Newton's physical principles, there is an elegance to his theories that transcends mere science and mathematics and touches the sublime! He actually formulated his theories using his newly-invented methods of Calculus, but few educated readers of his day understood the Calculus, so he proved his ideas using the methods of geometry (which all educated persons knew). We owe much of ...more
Nwe Mon
This book helps me a lot.
Dorotea
What can top this?!? Laws of motion. F=ma rules! (Though quantum mechanics have proven it to be fundamentally false.) And calculus?!? Pure genius. The thought of one human mind creating such an elegant tool to calculate everything from force to economics to anything requiring calculations of rate of change 'almost' makes being human worthwhile. Poetry at its most finest. Almost makes one believe there must be a god.
John
Hard going since Newton was so shy about using easy calculus when hard analytic geometry could do the job. Still, this is one of the most important books ever written and anyone with an interest in the history of science (or in seeing Newton draw up an epistemology at the start of book three to keep his critics from savaging him like they did with his Optics) should carve out a few months, get a bunch of paper, and go to.
Michelle
Of all the revisions, this Principia is in my opinion the most objective text. Many authors speak as to what Sir Isaac Newton might have been thinking. I find this to be an exploitation of Newton's work as he comprehensively explains what & how he's thinking no asides needed. . I still prefer the Latin version, but of the English versions, this is by far my favorite.
June
I have a feeling that I've learnt nothing abt math the past 15 years....
Daniel Lopez
Incredible book with an equal-sized prologue.
Includes a lots of explanations about theorems, controversy and so on.
Just for the sake of having the demonstration of Universal Gravitational Law, and his famous "hyphotesis non fingo", makes this book worth having.
Lane Wilkinson
It is a rare pleasure to sit down and read a book upon which your entire culture owes its existence. This would be a five star book, but I threw the other star ninja-style at the editor who gave primacy to Hawking's name on the binding.
Candy
Newton interjects philosophy and debate into math, making theory easier to accept than when handed down for rote memorization in textbooks hundreds of years later.
Germancho
Who am I kidding? I never read more than 10 pages of this masterpiece of arcane physics. Still, a book for the millenia.
Tony Go
This book is epic. I once spilled glucosamine on it and my soul was ripped from my body by a jealous god.
Jon Gauthier
Dec 28, 2012 Jon Gauthier marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, science
A coworker gave me this. Yes, the Latin version. Should be a nice struggle. :)
Tim
Interesting to see Newton's own words, but not the easiest cover-to-cover read.
Omar Adel
اهم كتاب فى التاريخ بدون ادنى شك
الكتاب الذى غير وجه العالم
Steve
Sep 19, 2007 Steve rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the bold
Shelves: philosophy
But only because of the mental struggle involved in the reading...
Barbara
tough reading never actually finished it
Kristi
what can I say? Newton is brilliant.
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Principia editors contributions? 1 3 Dec 25, 2012 08:45PM  
  • On The Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres
  • Euclid's Elements
  • Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican
  • Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • The Works of Archimedes
  • The New Organon
  • On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems
  • The Geometry of René Descartes: with a Facsimile of the First Edition
  • A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. 1
  • Physics
  • The Meaning of Relativity
  • The Descent of Man
  • Principia Mathematica to '56 (Mathematical Library)
  • Experiments in Plant Hybridisation
  • On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics And Astronomy
  • Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
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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
More about Isaac Newton...
Opticks Principia: Vol. I: The Motion of Bodies Isaac Newton: Philosophical Writings Principia: Vol. II: The System of the World Newton's Philosophy of Nature: Selections from His Writings

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