Jan 15

The Master Key that Unlocks Science

The Master Key that Unlocks Science: Addition or Proportion?

Recently I have been exploring the foundations of elementary number theory that best explain our world. So here is some trivia.

Isaac Newton’s 1687 Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) presented laws of motion, universal gravitation and more. A quick count (i) of the Latin words: addantur, addatur, adde, addebam, addenda, addendo, addita, additæ, additione, additionem, additis, addititiam, addititiis, and additur reveals 44 instances in total, whilst words variations of ‘proportion’ in the Latin appear 396 times. When it comes to describing our physical world via mathematics, it appears one concept is master over the other!


Instances of addition in Isaac Newton's Principia

Instances of addition in Isaac Newton's Principia

Instances of proportion in Isaac Newton's Principia

Instances of proportion in Isaac Newton's Principia

NOTE: The reason the 'add count' graphic shows 57 instances of 'add' and 436 instances of 'proportion' is the fact there are many instances of these words in this PDF in English that are not a part of Newton's Latin mathematical text.

The PDF of Newton's Principia in Latin can be viewed online or downloaded from  www.gutenberg.org/files/28233/28233-pdf.pdf

Photos from the original edition of Newton's Principia I have reviewed appear below.


Handwritten notes by John Craig, 1663-1731, a noted Scottish mathematician and a friend of Newton. (Click to enlarge.)



Here you can see the first definition in Newton's Principia. The book to the right, hidden from your view here, is a 1482 edition of Euclid's Elements. (Click to enlarge.)

I am grateful to the staff at the Rare Books and Special Collections Library, at the University of Sydney, for letting me study and photograph such valuable books!

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