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The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy Paperback – February 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1607962403 ISBN-10: 1607962403

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Snowball Publishing (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607962403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607962403
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

One of the greatest contributions in scientific history.
OS
At any rate, if you would like a good, modern translation of Newton's Principia, this is the place to go.
Matthew Coleman
At least if you read this book, you will know where it all started.
magellan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

273 of 280 people found the following review helpful By Kevin T. Keith on May 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The explanatory material, publishers's notes, and most of the reviews above all refer to the Bernard Cohen translation and commentary (UC Berkeley Press, blue cover) - but they are attached to the Amazon listing for the Snowball Publishing edition (brownish cover), which is not the same thing at all!!

The entry for the Snowball edition - listed on Amazon discount for about $13 - clearly states that it is the Cohen translation with his commentaries. In fact, it is merely a cheap reproduction of some earlier edition of the standard Motte translation, with modernized spelling. It is the complete text of the (translated) Third Edition of the Principia, but with no other associated works by Newton and nothing by Cohen. Snowball does not even give the translator's name, either on the cover or in the front matter! The lithographic reproduction is readable but poor quality - with many broken characters and even edges of pages slightly cut off. This is a usable cheap edition of the well-known 1729 translation, but it is NOT the modern translation, as the Amazon listing explicitly states. (In fact, Amazon's "Search Inside This Book" feature, from the Snowball edition page, takes you to the search pages for the Cohen edition - a completely different, and much more expensive, book!)

I'm sure this was a good-faith error on Amazon's part, but it is completely misleading. Buyers should know what they are getting. If you are reading this on the page listing for the Snowball Publishing edition of the Principia, you aren't getting what they say you are. Be forewarned.
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167 of 182 people found the following review helpful By A.W. Ellermann on August 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Hi, folks. I suffered through college math all the way through differential equations, and I never really "got" it. I just memorized the steps and, when exam time rolled around, hoped I could remember which procedure went with which problem. The light finally came on in grad school, and _Principia_ was the switch. Reading the _Principia_ let me get underneath formal calculus and imbued it with a sense of wonder and soul. To see the theory set out step-by-step, to follow with Newton as he envisioned a new way of painting the world, gave me the ability to internalize the calculus, to say, finally, "Yes, that's intuitively right." I wish I'd read the _Principia_ much earlier in my education. It would have saved me a lot of pain.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By C. Morales on November 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've seen bad reviews for master works of science in the past. Mostly they claim these books are either not clear or impossible to understand. Don't buy this book for the purpose of learning Classical Mechanics or Calculus from it, but for the scientific curiosity of learning how the great Isaac Newton presented his revolutionary scientific ideas to the world. Of course, it is difficult to read. This is a translation of a book written in Latin more than 300 years ago!
This book is a jewel. Just like the original works of Einstein, Maxwell, Heisenberg, Schroedinger and all those giants. Many of the ideas presented in the book were written for the first time in history and probably they are not organized in a didactic form. The person buying this book should not expect to find a clear textbook when originally it was not written for the layman, but for the expert scientific community of its time. Buy this book, sit back, scan through it, and enjoy a true piece of history.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Ellman on July 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
From Kenneth Ellman, Newton, New Jersey 07860, ke@kennethellman.com
"I hope that, decades from now, when I and my other books have been forgotten, this will still be useful to scholars and students". So spoke Harvard University Professor I. Bernard Cohen some years before his death in 2003. His co-translator Anne Whitman had died in 1984. The translation and the extraordinary commentary is 974 pages long and took 15 years to complete. I have had this edition for many years and in reading it again I decided to write this review. I feel grateful to Cohen and Whitman for what they accomplished.

This particular edition by Cohen and Whitman of The Principia stands alone (as far as I know) in making one feel that a teacher, guide, and historian are holding your hand while exploring and understanding one of the most dramatic and powerful scientific and mathematical treatise ever written. I am surprised at some of the reviews here in that they seem to discuss the applicability or utilization of The Principia as a Physics or Math textbook. This is certainly not a textbook in the modern sense in any respect. This is not a book you would use to prepare for any normal Physics or Math examination. It must be kept in mind that this book by Newton was a human accomplishment and this particular edition with its extensive commentary by Cohen lets one be exposed to both the scientific rigor and social aspects of the world of Isaac Newton. And due to the fact of Newton's extraordinary scientific and mathematical accomplishment it caused historical alteration in the course of human events as does each great expansion of human knowledge.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jordi Vilalta Lopez on May 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
[...]
It was very difficult to grasp in Latin (I've had a try on it), not that much easy in the Motte facsimile translation (I can assure it), and the Cajori-Motte edition was only half modernized and otherwise flawed.

This edition, sponsored by I.B. Cohen (the Latin editor) gives us a fresh, modern English translation of the text, and -almost as thick- a guide to using and reading this all-important book, which is not -as everybody is aware- an easy reader. One word of caution: Newton was, of course (pace Leibnitz), the discoverer of calculus, but he doesn't use it here, but "more geometrico" rigorous proofs, much in the style of that other genius of all ages, Archimedes. If you need help grasping the contents and impact of this work, then you must get some book like DENSMORE, D., Newton's Principia: The Central Argument (other auxiliary books are commented in the Guide potion of the book I'm reviewing).
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