Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Was Newton a Newtonian?": Review of Isaac Newton by James Gleick.Reviewed by Patricia Fara. Science, 15 August 2003, page 920.

As part of a justification for the seemingly easy question, Fara writes that"Newton himself would have been horrified by modern Newtonian physics,especially the innovations it owes to Pierre Laplace, the self-styled 'FrenchNewton' who introduced the deterministic interpretation we now associate withNewtonianism." Newton's interests in subjects such as alchemy are now thoughtof as part of his world view rather than as anomalies. Fara's overallimpression of the book is that Gleick "has transformed mainstream academicresearch into an exciting story about the revised Newton, a thinker more akinto Aristotle than to Einstein," but she wishes there were more pages devoted toNewton's last 30 years.

--- Mike Breen