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    Sir Isaac Newton Creates Calculus

    Sir Isaac Newton. The Method of Fluxions and Infinite Series; with its Application to the Geometry of Curve-lines. Translated from the author's Latin original not yet made publick. To which is subjoin'd, a perpetual comment upon the whole work, consisting of annotations, illustrations, and supplements, in order to make this treatise a compleat institution for the use of learners. By John Colson... London: Printed by Henry Woodfall; and Sold by John Nourse, 1736. First edition. Approximately 9.5 x 7.5 inches. Quarto. iv [sic], ix-xxiv, 339, [1, blank], [1, errata], [1, advertisement] pages. A leaf containing "The Contents of the following Comment" (bound at 143-144). Engraved plate here used as frontispiece, numerous woodcut diagrams in the text. Bound to style in modern full paneled calf, spine tooled, ruled and lettered in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, all edges deckled in red. Spine a bit sunned, professional repairs to engraved plate and page 105/106, professional restoration to lower corner of title page. Overall, a bright, fine copy.

    "Newton's Methodus fluxionum was originally prepared in 1671, but remained unpublished until this English translation by John Colson. In it he presents a method of determining the magnitudes of finite quantities by the velocities of their generating motions. At its time of preparation, it was Newton's fullest exposition of the fundamental problem of the calculus, in which he presented his successful general method. It was not published in its original Latin until 1779" (The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine, Christie's New York, 15 and 16 June 1998, lot 700). "Written in 1671, Newton's Fluxions is a key document in the controversy over whether Newton or Leibnitz had priority in discovering differential calculus. Newton did not publish anything on the calculus until after 1700, whereas Leibnitz began publishing papers on the subject in 1684; however, Leibnitz's manuscript notes on the calculus date back only to 1673, eight years after Newton began investigating the subject. By 1671, Newton was in a position to give his clearest statement to date of the fundamental problem of the calculus, and to present a successful general method. The second half of Fluxions is occupied by John Colson's 'perpetual comment' on Newton's work" (Norman Library).

    Babson 171. Honeyman 2327. Norman Library 1595. Wallis 232. From the James and Deborah Boyd Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th Wednesday
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