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The Principia

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,090 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles) is considered to be among the finest scientific works ever published. His grand unifying idea of gravitation, with effects extending throughout the solar system, explains by one principle such diverse phenomena as the tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and the irregularities of the moon's motion.

Paperback, 465 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Prometheus Books (first published July 1687)
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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…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.
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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
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 some
Feb 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2013 added it
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
Aleksandar Janjic
Одма да кажем да немам шта паметно да кажем о овој књизи јер је Њутн ипак можда мало пренапредан за мене. На почетку сам покушавао да пратим и донекле успијевао, али то није дуго потрајало јер су ствари врло брзо постале прекомпликоване. Наравно, овакве научне класике данас је практично немогуће читати без разноразних додатних објашњења и коментара, којих у овом издању нажалост нема, мада морам да напоменем да имам (у папирном облику) једну апсолутну звијер од издања, тешку једно сто кила, са оо ...more
Abram Dorrough
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Duval
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Thomas Preusser
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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? In the centuries since the publication of this philosophical juggernaut men have agonized over the fundamental question of whether to sleep with Ginger or Mary Ann…but what about the old broad? Why doesn’t anyone go t ...more
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
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Pranav Jeevan
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To see how the great man thought...
Nwe Mon
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helps me a lot.
Ahmed Sobhy
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Therefore, He was a real genius.
Sir Isaac Newton,
Hangci Du
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote in Chinese, very long, too lazy to translate~


Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a feeling that I've learnt nothing abt math the past 15 years....
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An open door into the mind of the man who revolutionized the way to think about mathematics and physical science. It is technical.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listed
Who am I kidding? I never read more than 10 pages of this masterpiece of arcane physics. Still, a book for the millenia.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هنا ولد كل شيء.
قبله العدم .. وبعده هو لكن بشكل آخر.
Tony Go
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is epic. I once spilled glucosamine on it and my soul was ripped from my body by a jealous god.
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Drew Venegas
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the densest books that I've ever read, but also the most elegant and structured.
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online maths tutors 1 1 Apr 26, 2017 11:39AM  
Principia editors contributions? 1 8 Dec 25, 2012 08:45PM  
  • On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres
  • Euclid's Elements
  • Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
  • The Works of Archimedes
  • Experimental Researches in Electricity
  • Essays on the Theory of Numbers
  • On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems
  • The New Organon
  • Experiments in Plant Hybridisation
  • Principia Mathematica to '56 (Mathematical Library)
  • The Geometry of René Descartes: with a Facsimile of the First Edition
  • Physics
  • Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
  • A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. 1
  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
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
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” 134 likes
“Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, 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.” 30 likes
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