Newton and the Origin of Civilization

Public history of science lecture

by Prof. Mordechai Feingold and Prof. Jed Buchwald

Isaac Newton's Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, published in 1728, one year after the great man's death, unleashed a storm of controversy. And for good reason. The book presents a drastically revised timeline for ancient civilizations, contracting Greek history by five hundred years and Egypt's by a millennium.

This lecture will tell the story of how one of the most celebrated figures in the history of mathematics, optics, and mechanics came to apply his unique ways of thinking to problems of history, theology, and mythology, and how his radical ideas produced an uproar that reverberated in Europe's learned circles throughout the eighteenth century and beyond.

Jed Buchwald and Mordechai Feingold reveal the manner in which Newton strove for nearly half a century to rectify universal history by reading ancient texts through the lens of astronomy, and to create a tight theoretical system for interpreting the evolution of civilization on the basis of population dynamics. It was during Newton's earliest years at Cambridge that he developed the core of his singular method for generating and working with trustworthy knowledge, which he applied to his study of the past with the same rigor he brought to his work in physics and mathematics. Drawing extensively on Newton's unpublished papers and a host of other primary sources, Buchwald and Feingold reconcile Isaac Newton the rational scientist with Newton the natural philosopher, alchemist, theologian, and chronologist of ancient history.

Cost and booking

This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 6pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Meeting up

Meet at 6pm at the Royal Society in the foyer - Zara will have a Meetup sign. Please try and come early just because of the first-come-first-served rule as occasionally the Royal Society events do get full.

 

If we miss you, please try and find us afterwards, members usually convene to the nearest pub.

 

 

 

 


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  • A former member
    A former member

    Some concepts of Newton I'd never come across before, but not the most enthralling subject for me!

    December 1, 2012

  • John M.

    Good audio/visuals. Got there 12 mins late and still understood enough to answer a question at the end.

    November 27, 2012

  • John M.

    On my way!

    November 27, 2012

3 went

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