Newton's Principia

Newton’s Principia: looking beneath the surface of a mathematical masterpiece.

Welcome to my Principia site. It is largely based on The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac Newton, translated and annotated by Charles Leedham-Green and published by Cambridge University Press. The direction that the blog takes will be governed by your contributions. Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

Latest Posts

Newton Lecture, Lincoln University, 26 April 2022

In April, I was honoured to be asked to talk about my translation for the 2022 Newton Lecture at Lincoln University. You can watch the lecture below and also benefit from 30% off a copy of my translation. To get the discount, visit cupbookshop.co.uk and enter the code NEWTON30 at checkout. Offer valid until 31…

Desaguliers, Hogs’ bladders, and St Paul’s cathedral

John Theophilus Desaguliers FRS (1683 – 1744) was elected to the Royal Society in 1714, with responsibility for experiments, Hooke having died in 1703. The second edition of Newton’s The Principia was published in 1713, and the third in 1726.  The experiments overseen by Desaguliers, carried out in April and July 1719, consisted, principally, in…

Gottfried Kirch, his wife Maria, and their calendars

Although he did not travel, Newton sat at the centre of an intellectual community that stretched from India to America, though its members were all European, and Newton noted their nationality, provided that they were English. Gottfried Kirch (1639-1710), the son of a cobbler or tailor who came to Germany as a penniless refugee from…

Newton, a priest of nature

Newton was an intensely learned and determined theologian, whose striking views are of universal interest. He was a priest of nature in that, for him, understanding the universe, as he Newton understood it, was closely related to understanding God. In this, my eighth blog, I pay homage to Rob Iliffe’s great book Priest of Nature:…

Newton and the orbit of comets part 2

In this blog I plan to outline the method that Newton, and then Halley, used to compute the orbits of comets. It is a challenge to those who are handy with a computer, or who have the skills of draughtsmanship; and I hope that it will also be of interest to people who are interested…

Newton and the orbit of comets

Isaac Newton, like many astronomers before and since, was inspired by comets. His theory of gravitation enabled him to compute the orbit of comets as detailed in The Principia. The mathematical formula that Newton developed to calculate the orbit of comets enabled him, and Halley, who was Flamsteed’s successor as Astronomer Royal, to determine if…


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2 thoughts on “Home

  1. amazing how few have read Charles new translation, et alone commented on it. 20 years of work phew.
    My maths and understanding of the whole is so incomplete that I need instruction.
    Just have had read to me Prof Jones comments on the French astronomer of yesteryear and his contribution to the subjects of the Principia.


  2. Amazing to have a mathematical genius translated by a mathematical genius. Is Prof Leedham-Green the first person to actually translate the underlying mathematics rather than just the words? Love the book, love the blog.


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