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David Berlinski

The apple of knowledge

Sir Isaac Newton and the deciphering of the universe
European Publishing House, Hamburg 2002
ISBN 9783434505228
Hardcover, 233 pages, EUR 20.00


What do we still know about Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) today? There is the anecdote of the brooding loner who sheds light on the structure of the world when an apple falls. And there is a very complex mathematical achievement that has become the basis of modern science. David Berlinski has written about things that are so familiar to us today that we can hardly imagine a time when they were not taken for granted - the predictability of planetary orbits, the universal validity of gravity. The seemingly self-evident makes Berlinski exciting again, because he shows us the problematic genius behind these findings.

Review note on Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung, 11/30/2002

The "rox." drawing reviewer of this book by mathematician David Berlinksi targeted. The author reminds us how much we still see the world three hundred years after Newton's death through his "glasses": Our ideas of mechanics, optics, and astronomy are all still shaped by Newton. Berlinski also reminded us that Newton's general law of gravitation cannot be explained "materially". Newton does not seem to have had such a big problem with this: in his "Principia" he simply took theology to help. For the mathematician Berlinski, one believes rox., It is harder to swallow than for the philosopher Newton.