Isaac Newton’s notes go under the hammer

Isaac Newton’s notes go under the hammer

Handwritten notes penned by one of history’s greatest scientists will be up for auction in London.

Pages containing Isaac Newton’s revisions to his work, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, are expected to sell for between $AUD 1.1 million, according to auctioneer Christie’s.

Newton wrote Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica - Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy - in 1687 and set out the laws of gravitation and motion.

A first edition of the book up for auction in 2016 was sold for $AUD 4.7 million.

Thomas Venning, head of books and manuscripts at the London auction house, said the book “reinvented our understanding of the universe”.

The page and a half of notes for Newton’s planned second edition also includes comments and diagrams by Scottish mathematician and astronomer David Gregory.

Mr Venning said when Newton was working on the revisions, was “fizzing with the energy of one of the greatest minds the world has ever seen”.

“And we can see that at work, the speed with which he’s writing, the ferment of ideas coming out from his pen,” he said.

Though Newton gave up on the revisions, he eventually produced a second edition in 1713.

The notes will be up for auction at Christie’s in London on July 8.

“What a collector in the autograph world is looking for is the greatest minds in history talking about their greatest achievements,” Mr Venning said.

“It’s very, very rare to have that combination. And that’s what you have in this particular manuscript.”

Image: Getty Images

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