I picked up this book thinking it was a biography of Newton. Thus disposed, I picked it up with some reluctance—and then, only after two or three weeks of procrastination. That Sir Isaac Newton was a tremendous genius, there is no doubt at all. There are excellent arguments for the proposition that, so far as mathematics and its physical applications are concerned, Newton’s mind was the most powerful that ever existed. The story of Newton’s life, however, is, to put it very mildly indeed, not enthralling. He never traveled outside eastern England. He took no part in business, or in war. In spite of having lived through some of the greatest events in English constitutional history, he seems to have had no interest in public affairs. His brief tenure as a Member of Parliament for Cambridge University made not a ripple on the political scene. Newton had no intimate connections with other human beings. On his own testimony, which there is no...


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