Noah Popick 62328890
Preston Hoang 58904993
Matthew Jie 26482233
Kassidy Deason 21565018
Final Project Proposal
Many scientists today revere Newton’s intellect because of his theory of gravity. Although this inevitably leads to many Whiggish accounts, the evidence from history gives a more nuanced view of his discoveries. In particular, Newton’s obsession of the occult and theology, the previous works from his predecessors, and the correspondences between his peers demonstrate that modern society overrated Newton’s ingenuity.
Scientists today admire Newton based on the legacy he left. In the London Royal Society Poll, the scientists are asked if Albert Einstein or Newton played a more influential role in physics. After the votes, 13.8% of scientists supported Einstein while the rest voted Newton (“Newton Beats”). These results are not surprising, given that Newton crafted theory of gravity in his famous book The Principia. To briefly explain his work, he described the phenomena by which two masses attract one another through his inverse-square law, F = GmM/r^2. This law allows one to model the orbits of heavenly bodies and to predict the motion of falling bodies. With that, his principles reaffirmed the universality of gravity (“Newton and Planetary Motion”). As a result of this and other laws of motion, he was eventually made the Master of the Mint in 1699 and President of the Royal Society in 1703, until his death in 1729 (“Isaac”). Following his death, David Hume claimed that he was “the greatest and rarest genius that ever rose for the adornment and instruction of the species” (Durant). His discoveries including the theory of gravity essentially brought him much recognition.
Despite his fame, it is important to highlig...
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