Digital News Report – Historical writings of one of the most important scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton, has gone online at the British Royal Society. The biography by William Stukeley is one of several original documents that are being presented on the “Turning the Pages” website.
Newton (January 4th 1643 – March 31st 1727) was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. He built the first practical telescope and is credited with discovering gravity. He is also credited, along with Gottfried Leibniz, for formulating differential and derivative calculus.
Internet surfers use their mouse to turn the pages of these original documents. Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society, said “Stukeley’s biography is a precious artefact for historians of science.”
The manuscript describes Stukeley’s rendition of how Newton discovered gravity. “He told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood,” Stukeley wrote.
Newton wondered why the Apple always fell to the ground, something we all take for granted today.
“Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself. Why should it not go sideways, or upwards? But constantly to the earth’s centre? Assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in matter.”
By: Sam Lee