Talk:Isaac Newton

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 Definition (1642–1727) English physicist and mathematician, best known for his elucidation of the universal theory of gravitation and his development of calculus. [d] [e]
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Year of birth

Hi Richard, as you probably know England had the Julian calendar in 1642 (I believe England introduced the Gregorian calendar around 1760). Italy had the Gregorian calendar when Galileo died, so the statement about the year of death = year of birth has to be qualified. However, I don't agree with our WP friends who recomputed all Newton's dates to the Gregorian calendar. I find that nonsense. Newton must have believed during his whole life that he was Xmas child and now our WP friends make him posthumously a January 4 child. As to your remark that science and life must be separated, a start has been made, see gravitation and classical mechanics. --Paul Wormer 02:04, 30 November 2007 (CST)

yes good points! I will confine myself to the history business here (the Julian-Gregorian business probably needs coverage onle when a life covered the dividing point.) Richard Jensen 07:24, 30 November 2007 (CST)
  • Hi Richard, I don't agree with your removing the following info altogether:
This statement is only true because of difference in calendars between Italy and England. Italy introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and England in 1752. The two calendars differ by 10 days. According to the Gregorian calendar Galilei died on January 8, 1642, which in the Julian calendar would be December 29, 1641. Newton was born on December 25, 1642 (Julian), which is January 4, 1643 (Gregorian).
You can rephrase the footnote any way you want, but your original statement "Newton was born the year Galileo died" is so much part of the physics folklore that you cannot change it without explanation. People checking dates will be flabbergasted and think you made a mistake (if they don't know about the calendar business—most people don't). --Paul Wormer 01:30, 17 December 2007 (CST)
Fact is he was born almost exactly a year after G died. Why don't you draft a footnote explaining there is a false belief out there and why. surely we do not want to have the misleading statement in the text and then in the footnote explain it's false. Richard Jensen 03:03, 17 December 2007 (CST)
  • Will this longish note do?

Part of physics folklore is the statement: "Newton was born the same year that Galilei died". A superficial check of dates seems to confirm this: Galilei died January 8, 1642 and Newton was born December 25, 1642. However, these two dates are in reference to different calendars, Gregorian in Italy and Julian in England. Italy introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and England only in 1752. Since the two calendars differ by 10 days and the dates of birth and death are within 10 days from the year endings, the statement is incorrect in either calendar. Summarizing, according to the Gregorian calendar Galilei died January 8, 1642 and Newton was born January 4, 1643, while in the Julian calendar Galilei died December 29, 1641 and Newton was born December 25, 1642.

You can improve/shorten it any way you want. Cheers, --Paul Wormer 04:16, 17 December 2007 (CST)
Good job. I think that solves the problem and takes a false myth out of the main text. Richard Jensen 05:13, 17 December 2007 (CST)

Spelling Leibnitz

It is interesting that Pat took the trouble to change Leibniz to Leibnitz. I didn't count, but I have the impression that without "t" is the slighly more common spelling. In any case, I have here a German biography (by Egmont Colerus, 1938) of Leibniz, in which his name is consistently spelled without "t". Of course, 1938 is a year full of ideology, but I doubt it that the (Nazi) ideology reached as far as the spelling of Leibnitz/Leibniz.--Paul Wormer 03:51, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

PS I read further in the article and saw the two spellings used inconsistently. Maybe Pat wanted to introduce some consistency but overlooked some occurrences. --Paul Wormer 03:56, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

Yep, I missed some. I strongly prefer the Leibnitz spelling because it induces people to pronounce his name correctly even if they have never studied German. Just one opinion.Pat Palmer 12:05, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

Newton's apple

The story of the Newton and the apple, as recounted in the present version of this article, has been questioned by many scholars who have considered it to be largely apocryphal, in the same category as Geo. Washington and the cherry tree, or Robert Bruce and the spider. Here is just one example for further reading:

James F. Perry 17:45, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

He told the story to two different people, so "apocryphal" would need clarification. Peter Jackson (talk) 04:38, 1 August 2022 (CDT)