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Newton (Brief Lives)
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Peter Ackroyd
Newton (Brief Lives) by Peter Ackroyd at Abbey's Bookshop,

Newton (Brief Lives)

Peter Ackroyd



Biography: science, technology & engineering;
Mathematics & Sciences;
History of science;
Popular science;


176 pages

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Isaac Newton (1642-1727), the English genius, made his greatest contributions to original thought before the age of 25, while at home in Lincolnshire escaping the great plague of 1665, a period of which he wrote: "I was in the prime of age for invention."

Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, an MP, Master of the Mind and President of the Royal Society, Newton, the author of Principia, one of the most important books in the history of science, was fascinated by calculus, the planets and the laws of motion. In keeping with his age, he blurred the borders between natural philosophy and speculation; he was as passionate about astrology as astronomy, and dabbled in alchemy, while his religious faith was never undermined by his scientific efforts.

By:   Peter Ackroyd
Imprint:   Vintage
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 13mm
Weight:   150g
ISBN:   9780099287384
ISBN 10:   0099287382
Series:   Brief Lives
Pages:   176
Publication Date:   July 2007
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Peter Ackroyd is the author of a magnificent biography of Shakespeare, which takes the reader into the heart of the 16th century, and London: the Biography, a massive bestseller in both hardback and paperback. His non fiction books have variously won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of LIterature's William Heinemann Award (jointly) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He has also won numerous prizes for his historical novels, and is the holder of a CBE for services to literature. He is the biographer of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake and Thomas More, as well as the author of the influential Albion: the origins of the English imagination; and has written and presented three TV series for the BBC - on Dickens (2002), London (2004) and the Romantic Poets (2005). He lives in London.

Compact biography of the great English scientist, the third in Ackroyd's Brief Lives series (Chaucer, 2005; J.M.W. Turner, 2006).Born on Christmas day 1642, Isaac Newton was the posthumous child of an illiterate yeoman farmer. His mother remarried and left him to be raised by his grandmother. At a local school, he distinguished himself by his inventiveness at creating toys and gadgets; it quickly became apparent he had no aptitude for farming. At his teacher's urging, he was sent to Cambridge, where he so excelled in math that he was appointed a professor at the age of 26. His full genius bloomed during an involuntary vacation forced by the Great Plague of 1665. He experimented with prisms to uncover the nature of light; he worked up the essentials of calculus; and he laid the foundations for a theory of gravitation. Upon his return to the academic world, he began to publish some of what he had learned. Ackroyd points out that Newton was not in any haste to make his mark; indeed, a certain secretiveness characterized his work for much of his life. He delved into alchemical and theological speculations, which he was probably just as wise not to commit to publication. (In fact, had his religious convictions become known, he would undoubtedly have had to resign his academic post.) He also indulged in a series of professional feuds, with Robert Hooke, John Flamsteed and Gottfried Leibnitz in particular, that are perhaps the most regrettable blemish on his reputation. Ackroyd gives enough of the historical context to make Newton's salient character traits and greatest accomplishments clear to the modern reader.A slim but solid introduction, akin to James Gleick's Isaac Newton (2003). (Kirkus Reviews)

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