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Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  121 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Destined to become the standard biography of Isaac Newton, this meticulously detailed work is focused on his scientific career, but also deals with every facet of his life. It presents an encompassing picture of Newton--the man, scientist, philosopher, theologian and public figure.
Paperback, 928 pages
Published April 1st 1983 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 1980)
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This is the most comprehensive book on any topic I have read in a long time. I wanted to know about Newton and boy do I ever now! The problem is that it is so extensive - exhaustive really. While the book does a great job detailing Sir Isaac Newton's life, the level of detail is beyond what most readers would care for.

In addition to detailing his accomplishments, setbacks, breakdowns and personality, Richard S. Westfall has gone to great lengths to talk about things like his fincances. For exam
Jan 17, 2016 Tereneh rated it really liked it
As a fashion designer who needs a calculator to complete even the most basic calculations and as a mediocre at best science student (okay I was horrible). The motivation to read Never at Rest, comes from my absolute admiration of Newton as a scientist and my interest to learn more about how genius works.

As with most lives how much can we really know about another person. I know more about Newton, much more but not all of it is welcome news. I was saddened to learn that during Newton's administra
Jul 25, 2016 Masha marked it as to-read
Shelves: longish, non-fiction
-> 1000 pages.
-> Written in 1981.

Still interested.


Me: almost 26 and has 4 useless diplomas yolo
Mark Bowles
Aug 30, 2014 Mark Bowles rated it it was amazing
A. Synopsis: Holding Newton to a caliber reached by few other men Westfall indicates that his subject was “one of the tiny handful of supreme geniuses...not reducible to the criteria by which we comprehend our fellow beings.” Westfall examines all aspects of Newton’s life from science, alchemy, theology, heading of the Royal Society, and operations at the mint during recoinage. Set within this broad scope of his life are his greatest achievements in mathematics, dynamics, celestial mechanics, ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Noah rated it it was amazing
Isaac Newton leaps off these pages as more than someone who merely sat in a room and doodled, giving birth to the Principia and Opticks from his forehead like Athena. We even get a glimpse at his first and only chaste puppy love.

As a committed Arian, he risked everything by refusing to swear the required Trinitarian oath he would have to abjure.

The book pulls no punches, however about the miasma of alchemy and pseudo-Rosicrucianism that fuelled his private life. It limns this guy as like some m
Tom Lowe
Mar 31, 2016 Tom Lowe rated it it was amazing
I always wanted to read the most definitive biography available on Sir Isaac Newton. Well, I got my wish. This masterpiece by Richard S. Westfall is so detailed, so encompassing, so complete, that it was, in many ways, over the top. A bit esoteric in its mathematics and calculus, it just proved to me even more the depth of Newton's genius. I am very impressed that the author, unlike most biographers, is honest to the point of exposing Newton's numerous personality flaws, which were many. But he ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it
The very first biography I ever read. It was in High School, and though I was forced to read a biography, I was able to make my own choice. I was interested in science and math and this book jumped out at me. It was ponderous at times because of my lack of enthusiasm for reality and history, but it quickly gripped me. I was hooked and have read many science and math biographies since.
Oct 05, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
An exhaustive biography that offers little to anyone except those writing a report on the man. Includes everything you never really cared about, like how much he spent on various living supplies in 1666, and often repeats various things that it assumes you already know beforehand without even introducing it. There's a whole lot of tedium here, and not much that is actually interesting.
Aug 02, 2016 Rod rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography of Newton. Very detailed and well researched. Westfall has a great grasp of Newton's reasoning and scientific ideas. You can read this book as a biography and a clear presentation of Newton's scientific work.
Some good quotes and an interesting look at the life and focus of a great scientist. Lots of math I didn't understand and skipped and so many letters between people that I didn't find interesting burin sure someone fascinated with Newton would love every minute detail provided.
Aug 28, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it
If you ever want to get into the minutiae of Isaac Newton's life, this is the book. At 800 pages, it's thorough and enlightening. I never knew about Newton's appointment to the head of the Mint, or really anything about his later life. I skipped much of that (it is, well, rather tedious).
Matt Brooks
Mar 23, 2010 Matt Brooks is currently reading it
Pretty cool so far - the author begins with an account of the evolution of scientific thought and the key people who spurred it on - Aristotle, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo etc.
Steve rated it it was amazing
Feb 11, 2016
Gaurav Arora
Nov 08, 2010 Gaurav Arora rated it liked it
it is the best biography i have ever read .............
Its awesome!!!!!!!!!!
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