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Trinity College Notebook by Isaac Newton
Part of the Newton Papers Collection.
This is a notebook Newton acquired while he was an undergraduate at Trinity College and used from about 1661 to 1665 (see his inscription). It includes many notes from his studies and, increasingly, his own explorations into mathematics, physics and metaphysics. It was judged 'Not fit to be printed' by Newton's executor and was presented to the Library by the fifth Earl of Portsmouth in 1872.
This notebook contains many blank pages (all shown) and has been used by Newton from both ends. Our presentation displays the notebook in a sensible reading order. It shows the 'front' cover and the 30 folios that follow and then turns the notebook upside down showing the other cover and the pages that follow it. Full transcriptions are available for folios 88r-135r, a famous section of the manuscript where Newton organises his notetaking according to 'Questiones quaedam Philosophiae' (certain philosophical questions). The notebook was photographed while it was disbound in 2011
It does not, I think, misrepresent Newton's intentions as a scientist to maintain that he wished to write a Principles of Philosophy, like Descartes, but that his inability to explain gravity forced him to restrict his subject to the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.
Both the similarity and the difference of titles are significant. Netwon seems to have considered his magnum opus, the Principia, incomplete.
It contained only a mathematical description of gravity. Unlike Descartes's Principles it did not even pretend to explain why the universe runs as it does.
The Copernican Revolution
Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought
Thomas S. Kuhn
The notes are written in ancient greek. Which is a difference and he didn't know ancient greek