Category Archive 'Isaac Newton'
28 Apr 2021
British Universities are just one short step ahead of ours on the road to Revolutionary Insanity. The Telegraph reports:
Sir Isaac Newton has been labelled as a potential beneficiary of “colonial-era activity” in draft plans to “decolonise” the engineering curriculum at Sheffield University.
Students learning about the mathematician and scientist’s three laws of motion, the core of modern physics, could see changes in their teaching to explain the “global origins and historical context” of his theories, documents suggest.
The plans form part of the engineering faculty’s efforts to “challenge long-standing conscious and unconscious biases” among students to tackle “Eurocentric” and “white saviour” approaches to science and maths, and promote “inclusive design”.
A leaked copy of the “draft inclusive curriculum development” plan at the Russell Group institution says that “much important engineering content and curriculum resources is based on maths developed in the 18/19th century.”
It claims pioneering scientists including Paul Dirac, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Newton, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz “could be considered as benefiting from colonial era activity”.
Newton, who lived until 1727, laid the foundations of modern science with his theory of gravity, in the seminal Principia, and theories on light, time, colour and calculus.
His equation for universal gravitation, written in 1666 when he was 23, helped overthrow more than a thousand years of Aristotelian thinking.
He was once voted Cambridge University student of all time by current students. He went on to become President of the Royal Society and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
The documents do not explain how Newton is thought to have benefited from colonialism. However, it is known that he held shares in the South Sea Company that traded in slaves.
Newton initially made money but later lost £20,000, a fortune at the time, after the company ran into financial difficulties.
Other shareholders at the time included 462 members of the House of Commons and 100 members of the House of Lords.
While his views on slavery are little known, he was deeply religious and confessed multiple sins, including “setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee”.
Newton is the latest historical figure to be swept into a drive by staff and students to “decolonise” campuses, which intensified in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
05 Nov 2018
At Christie’s, and on-line auction November 8:
In Isaac Newton’s own hand:
In Latin, four full pages and three partial pages of text, on three bifolia, 203 x 155mm, the text on one page partially written in inverse orientation.
Notes on the Turba Philosophorum, one of the most influential of all alchemical texts, a Latin translation of an Arabic anthology of pre-medieval alchemical texts, whose origins may be seen in an attempt to apply Greek alchemy to Islamic science.
Estimate: GBP 80,000 ($100,800) – GBP 100,000 ($130,000).
30 May 2017
The College Fix:
â€˜Binary and absolute differencesâ€™ are â€˜exploitativeâ€™
A feminist academic affiliated with the University of Arizona has invented a new theory of â€œintersectional quantum physics,â€ and told the world about it in a journal published by Duke University Press.
Whitney Stark argues in support of â€œcombining intersectionality and quantum physicsâ€ to better understand â€œmarginalized peopleâ€ and to create â€œsafer spacesâ€ for them, in the latest issue of The Minnesota Review.
Because traditional quantum physics theory has influenced humanityâ€™s understanding of the world, it has also helped lend credence to the ongoing regime of racism, sexism and classism that hurts minorities, Stark writes in â€œAssembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities.â€
A researcher in culture and gender studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Stark also holds an appointment in womenâ€™s and gender studies at the University of Arizona through its Institute for LGBT Studies.
She is a member of the Somatechnics Research Network, hosted by UA, whose scholars â€œreflect on the mutual inextricability of embodiment and technology.â€
Stark identifies Newtonian physics as one of the main culprits behind oppression. â€œNewtonian physics,â€ she writes, has â€œseparated beingsâ€ based on their â€œbinary and absolute differences.â€
â€œThis structural thinking of individualized separatism with binary and absolute differences as the basis for how the universe works is embedded in many structures of classification,â€ according to Stark.
These structures of classification, such as male/female, or living/non-living, are â€œhierarchical and exploitativeâ€ and are thusly â€œpart of the apparatus that enables oppression.â€
Therefore, Stark argues in favor of combining intersectionality and quantum physics theory to fight against the imperative to classify people based on hierarchical categories.
01 Dec 2014
Nautilus profiles the great man, thusly:
Describing his life, shortly before his death, Newton put his contributions this way: â€œI donâ€™t know what I may seem to the world, but, as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.â€
One thing Newton never did do, actually, was play at the seashore. In fact, though he profited greatly from occasional interaction with scientists elsewhere in Britain and on the Continentâ€”often by mailâ€”he never left the vicinity of the small triangle connecting his birthplace, Woolsthorpe, his university, Cambridge, and his capital city, London. Nor did he seem to â€œplayâ€ in any sense of the word that most of us use. Newtonâ€™s life did not include many friends, or family he felt close to, or even a single lover, for, at least until his later years, getting Newton to socialize was something like convincing cats to gather for a game of Scrabble. Perhaps most telling was a remark by a distant relative, Humphrey Newton, who served as his assistant for five years: he saw Newton laugh only onceâ€”when someone asked him why anyone would want to study Euclid.
Newton had a purely disinterested passion for understanding the world, not a drive to improve it to benefit humankind. He achieved much fame in his lifetime, but had no one to share it with. He achieved intellectual triumph, but never love. He received the highest of accolades and honors, but spent much of his time in intellectual quarrel. It would be nice to be able to say that this giant of intellect was an empathetic, agreeable man, but if he had any such tendencies he did a good job suppressing them and coming off as an arrogant misanthrope. He was the kind of man who, if you said it was a gray day, would say, â€œno, actually the sky is blue.â€ Even more annoying, he was the kind who could prove it. Physicist Richard Feynman voiced the feelings of many a self-absorbed scientist when he wrote a book titled, What Do You Care What Other People Think? Newton never wrote a memoir, but if he had, he probably would have called it I Hope I Really Pissed You Off, or maybe, Donâ€™t Bother Me, You Ass.
Lock, Stock, & History is similiarly irreverent.
Today we consider the great scientist Isaac Newton to be one of the greatest geniuses of history. After all he developed many laws and theories in the fields of physics, optics, mathematics, and astronomy which are still very relevant today. However if you actually met Sir Isaac Newton today, I guarantee you would think him to be a nutjob.
While Newton is celebrated today for his many scientific breakthroughs, his works in other, less scientific fields are largely forgotten. A dedicated alchemist and occultist, Newton spent much of his time working on experiments that are today mostly considered outright bizarre. A devoted follower of many interesting occult sects, Newton spent years trying to determine the â€œsacred geometryâ€ of Solomonâ€™s Temple, with hopes of mathematically divining the secrets of God. He also spent much time and energy trying to find and de-crypt the â€œBible Codeâ€. In a detailed study of the Bible, Newton made a prediction for the end of world using the chronology of the Holy Book. According to Newton, the world should come to an end in 2060 AD. Newton calculated the end of the world specifically â€œto put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.â€ Eat your hearts out Mayans!
Of all of Newtonâ€™s discoveries, from gravity to refraction of light, from divining the location of Atlantis to discovering how to communicate with angels, Newton believed his most important work was in creating the Philosopherâ€™s Stone. Newton believed that with the Philosophers Stone he could have everlasting life and be able to turn lead into gold. He spent years, if not decades studying the work of the noted alchemist Nicholas Flammel and other alchemists, with the believe that he was about to make a breakthrough at any moment. In fact, to Newton the discovery of the Philosopherâ€™s Stone was so important that all his other discoveries were trivial when compared to his work in alchemy. His obsession with the stone caused him to have a weird set of priorities. After developing calculus, he kept his results to himself for over 30 years because he didnâ€™t think it was important and â€œdisliked intellectual mattersâ€.
Finally some of Newtonâ€™s experiments were just downright kooky and creepy. According to writings in his notebook, one experiment involved him sticking a needle into his eyeball and twirling it around to analyze how light traveled through his optic nerve,
I tooke a bodkine (needle) & put it betwixt my eye & [the] bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: & pressing my eye [with the] end of it (soe as to make [the] curvature a, bcdef in my eye) there appeared severall white darke & coloured circles r, s, t, &c. Which circles were plainest when I continued to rub my eye [with the] point of [the] bodkine, but if I held my eye & [the] bodkin still, though I continued to presse my eye [with] it yet [the] circles would grow faint & often disappeare untill I removed [them] by moving my eye or [the] bodkin.
In another strange experiment, Newton stared directly at the sun for as long as he could bare with the same objective of his â€œneedle experimentâ€.
While dedicated to the discovery of the Philosopherâ€™s Stone, his work would all be in vain as he died in 1727. He never did figure out how to turn lead into gold.
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