Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Enlightening Science: Windows on Genius

The holdings of two digital collections have been published to develop a new resource looking at the life and work of scientist, Sir Issac Newton. The original papers date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and are supplied from the archives at University of Cambridge and University of Sussex. Look at the digital facsimiles of Newton's work via the Cambridge Digital Library and read the transcriptions of the scientist's writings which have been incorporated into Sussex University's Newton Project.

Issac Newton lived between 1642 and 1727. In the seventeenth century, he tipped the scales of science through his theories of light, motion and most famously, gravity. (Think of the popular story that the idea of gravity came to Newton as he sat under an apple tree). Nonetheless, for all Newton's clarity of scientific vision, his papers, particularly the unpublished ones, have historically been difficult to read and access. This aptly titled 'Windows of Genius' project goes some way to redressing the issue associated with access by making extensive digital content freely available to any site-visitor. 

This will be a useful resource for any student of the Enlightenment and those interested in the development of science. Descriptions of the papers and the ability to reproduce the high-resolution images in the Cambridge Digital Library using Creative Commons licensing, also make this a great image-bank for details of Newton's once illegible scrawl.