Catalogue


Newton's gift : how Sir Isaac Newton unlocked the system of the world /
David Berlinski.
imprint
New York : Free Press, c2000.
description
xviii, 217 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0684843927
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Free Press, c2000.
isbn
0684843927
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
3974613
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2000-08-18:
Isaac Newton (1642-1721) invented or coinvented calculus, discovered gravity and organized physics around mathematical laws. These and other findings in math and optics established him as the great mind of his age. Retiring, introspective and sometimes difficult, he also devoted much of his time to fine points of Christian theology. Known for hit books about math, Berlinski (A Tour of the Calculus; The Advent of the Algorithm) devotes this compact, engaging and readable volume to Newton's life, mind and accomplishments. Mixing snapshots of Sir Isaac's life and times with explanations of what the great man discovered, Berlinski hopes to produce not a detailed biographical record but "a sense of the man" and of how his mind worked. Berlinski's prose adapts with equal ease to historical background and to mathematical explanations: he's sometimes glib, but often a pleasure to read. (The text includes only the barest, most necessary graphs and equations: an appendix goes into greater detail.) The volume draws clean connections between Newton's works and his life, and links both to big questions dear to Berlinski: Did Newton inaugurate two centuries of attempts to explain all of life through math and physics? If he did, how? Are those attempts ending now? And how, exactly, does math relate to physicsÄor to anything else in the world? Some readers will engage with Berlinski as he explores these philosophical tangents; others will simply enjoy his explication of Newton, whom Berlinski very plausibly labels "the last great natural philosopher whose vision about the world can be expressed in an intuitive way"Änot to mention "the largest figure in the history of western thought." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2000-09-01:
Berlinski, the author of several other works of science popularization (e.g., The Advent of the Algorithm, LJ 3/1/00), here presents a concise review of the development of Sir Isaac Newton's classical mechanics. He also provides selected brief biographical sections that highlight Newton's somewhat enigmatic personality and his work methods. The discussion of Newton's achievements in mathematical physics necessarily makes some use of diagrams and mathematical equations, but these are kept at a level that should be accessible to lay readers. An appendix gives further details but is still reasonably elementary. In several concluding pages, Berlinski reflects upon the meaning of Newton's work from today's perspective and ponders its implications for the future of physics. His writing style is, in turn, profound, dramatic, quirky, and entertaining. Occasionally, he almost strains too hard to make his work reader-friendly, but in general this is a very effective popular science book. Strongly recommended for both public and academic libraries.DJack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, August 2000
Library Journal, September 2000
Booklist, October 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. xiii
A Note to the Readerp. xvii
In the Year that Galileo Diedp. 1
An Escape from the Plowp. 11
The Infinitep. 23
The Special Instrumentp. 40
Newton in His Primep. 62
The Field of Rancorp. 78
A Good Questionp. 89
A Study in Starknessp. 96
A Loan from the Futurep. 108
The Orb of the Moonp. 126
The System of the Worldp. 132
The Captive of His Camouflagep. 143
Master of the Mintp. 150
The Defilep. 160
The Questp. 168
Descent into Detailp. 175
Newton Chronologyp. 205
Indexp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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