Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” as Want to Read:
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  4,405 ratings  ·  66 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 1687)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Principia, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Connor McDonnell Newton discovered his discoveries using calculus , but presented it in euclidean geometry. Its a very hard book to read for that reason , as he presen…moreNewton discovered his discoveries using calculus , but presented it in euclidean geometry. Its a very hard book to read for that reason , as he presents the ideas in a different manner to which he discovered them. Don't be down if you cant read it ,your better off reading a calculus book and classical mechanics book first , then read principia (its such a good book ), i hope this helped.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,405 ratings  ·  66 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
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 liter
Roy Lotz
It is shown in the Scholium of Prop. 22, Book II, that at the height of 200 miles above the earth the air is more rare than it is at the surface of the earth in the ratio of 30 to 0.0000000000003998, or as 75,000,000,000,000 to 1, nearly.

Marking this book as “read” is as much an act of surrender as an accomplishment. Newton’s reputation for difficulty is well-deserved; this is not a reader-friendly book. Even those with a strong background in science and mathematics will, I suspect, need so
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
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Newton unleashed one of the most startling scientific undertakings in history with his seemingly simple question posed in this hallowed treatise: what would happen if seven people representing various socio-economic strata of American life were stranded together on a desert island following a mishap during a three-island tour?

In the centuries since the publication of this philosophical juggernaut, men and women have agonized over the fundamental question of whether to sleep with Ginger or Mary A
Breinholt Dorrough
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most intelligent and influential books of all time. Period. This is an older read I remember fondly enough to rate the full 5 stars even though it has been a while.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas Preusser
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book, written by Isaac Newton in 1588, served as the foundation of physics for more than 300 years, or up to the time Einstein developed relativity theory. The fact that it is still in print more than 400 years after being written puts it in nearly the same class as the bible. One does not actually read this book so much as marvel at it. The book is chock full of hundreds of geometric diagrams which essentially deal with systematic measurement and calculation. The thing that strikes one mos ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Principia (1687) was Isaac Newton's grand synthesis of (1) Copernicus' heliocentric theory, (2) Kepler's three planetary laws, (3) Galilei's study's of motion and forces and (4) Netwon's own mathematical analysis. It was more than this though; it was the first philosophical system of the world since Aristotle's philosophy (which had been used by christian theologians since the 12th century as the system of the world).

Newton writes this book in the style of Euclidean geometry: starting with a
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
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jonathan Morrow
Nov 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I stopped reading it after the first couple dozen pages. It's a brilliant book, but boy, he did not try at all to make it accessible. He gives a few hints as to the importance of his subject matter at the very beginning, but then he just launches into some very dry geometric proofs and continues that way for what looks like the vast majority of the book. He doesn't really tell you what the destination is, so it's hard to follow him on a journey that is such a slog. The ideas, of course, are worl ...more
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nwe Mon
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book helps me a lot.
Pranav Jeevan
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To see how the great man thought...
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another one for future purchase. Ah, Isaac Newton, how you woo me with your writings on gravity...
Ahmed Sobhy
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Therefore, He was a real genius.
Sir Isaac Newton,
Aug 05, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Lane Wilkinson
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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. ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is epic. I once spilled glucosamine on it and my soul was ripped from my body by a jealous god.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who am I kidding? I never read more than 10 pages of this masterpiece of arcane physics. Still, a book for the millenia.
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: logic-math
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.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
An open door into the mind of the man who revolutionized the way to think about mathematics and physical science. It is technical.
Drew Venegas
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the densest books that I've ever read, but also the most elegant and structured. ...more
Robert Smith
I was very excited for the release of the 2016 edition of the Principia. Edited by I. Bernard Cohen, Anne Whitman, and Julia Budenz, it is to date the best translation of the seminal work by Newton. The editors are very explicit in how they approached the original manuscript, highlighting a number of significant nuances. In their prefacing note, they also offer some wonderful insights into the history of the various proceeding translations by Thorpe, Motte-Cajori, and others, including extracts ...more
Connor McDonnell
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
While this is the most important book in all of science, I must caution you , this is a tough read . I recommend that you know calculus and classical mechanics prior (and euclidean geometry is a MUST), Newton doesnt use any familiar calculus notation at all , and doesnt make it easy to read. However , credit where credit is due , the way he structures the book is incredible , written in the style of an ancient greek text where he begins with axioms and definitions and then proceeds to prove theo ...more
Roberto Rigolin F Lopes
We are in 1687, Newton just climbed Euclid's shoulder to show us how bodies move (nothing sexy, though) using geometry. The show starts with three axioms also called "the laws of motion". From these three, he goes building a tight knitted set of theorems about bodies interacting with each other through invisible forces. The whole thing is of course demonstrated using geometrical arguments. SEVERAL abstract arguments; i.e. tons of ratios including the inverse square law (gravity). He often tries ...more
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
B.Sc. Maths College in Bareilly 1 1 Aug 17, 2019 01:00AM  
online maths tutors 1 1 Apr 26, 2017 11:39AM  
Principia editors contributions? 1 8 Dec 25, 2012 08:45PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
  • Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time
  • On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy
  • Euclid's Elements
  • In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality
  • The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next
  • Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
  • Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
  • Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
  • The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe
  • The Origin of Species
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension
  • The Principle of Relativity (Books on Physics)
  • Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Optics
  • Cosmos
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
14 likes · 2 comments
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being...
This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont, to be called Lord God παντοκρατωρ or Universal Ruler.”
“God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing.” 36 likes
More quotes…