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Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
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Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin: "mathematical principles of natural philosophy", often Principia or Principia Mathematica for short) is a three-volume work by Isaac Newton published on July 5, 1687. Probably the most influential scientific book ever published, it contains the statement of Newton's laws of motion forming the foundation of classical mechanics as well as his law of universal gravitation. He derives Kepler's laws for the motion of the planets (which were first obtained empirically).

In formulating his physical theories, Newton had developed a field of mathematics known as calculus. However, the language of calculus was largely left out of the Principia. Instead, Newton recast the majority of his proofs as geometric arguments.

It is in the Principia that Newton expressed his famous Hypotheses non fingo ("I feign no hypotheses", that is, "I do not assert that any hypotheses are true"). Here is the passage containing this famous remark:

I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this philosophy particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena, and afterwards rendered general by induction.''

The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica is composed of three volumes.
  1. Of The Motion Of Bodies
  2. Of The Motion Of Bodies (contd.)
  3. The System Of The World

Table of contents
1 Location of copies
2 See also
3 External link

Location of copies

Many national rare book collections contain original copies of Newton's Principia Mathematica. Notable examples are A facsimile edition was published in 1972 by Alexandre Koyré and I. Bernard Cohen, Cambridge University Press, 1972, ISBN 0674664752.

See also

Whitehead and Russell's Principia Mathematica

External link