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The dispute between Newton and Leibniz was carried out mostly by proxies, with Newton's supporters determined to claim the glory for England rather than have it fall to Germany. Most biographers agree that Newton and Leibniz developed calculus simultaneously and independently, and it's clear that Newton acted unethically in claiming sole credit. As president of the Royal Society, Newton not only stacked an investigating committee with his supporters, he wrote the committee's report! Djerassi and Pinner thus see a deeper, universal moral dilemma.

In "Calculus," Djerassi uses a play-within-a-play structure.


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His "playwright," Scottish physician and author John Arbuthnot, a Newton contemporary, says: We need unsullied heroes. A scientist's ethics must not be divorced from scientific achievements. Barton served as Newton's housekeeper and hostess in his later years, while Montague got Newton his appointment as director of the king's mint. Hooke claims Newton knew of the affair, which was carried on in Newton's own house.

He accuses Newton of a great hypocrisy, given Newton's Puritan morality. However, some biographers contend that Barton and Montague's relationship was platonic and point out that Montague obtained the appointment for Newton before he met Barton. The plays depict Newton as a real person wrestling with his shortcomings and inconsistencies.

Using more dramatic license, Pinner has Newton tell his niece, "Robert [Hooke] found a kind of peace here--in that he Whereas, tragically, I see more humanity in the mountains of the moon than in mankind.

New PDF release: Newton's Darkness: Two Dramatic Views

The "great man" approach to history confers a sort of secular sainthood on towering figures like Newton, stripping them of their humanity and robbing the rest of us of role models. In the same way, too many people see scientists as a sort of separate race whose activities are incomprehensible to everyone else. But if scientists are seen as real human beings, perhaps the science will seem a little less daunting. Newton did not invent the concept of gravity when an apple supposedly landed on his head.

Newton himself told the story of starting to think about gravity while sitting in an orchard and seeing an apple fall from a tree. The fellows of the Royal Society discussed gravity at great length though.

Newton's Darkness

Hooke admitted he didn't have the mathematics to prove the law of gravity and challenged Newton to tackle the problem. Later, Hooke claimed he had discovered the law of gravity, along with several other bogus claims of discovery. So Newton's bitterness toward Hooke was not entirely misplaced. Science is collaborative, even in the case of a lone genius. Newton coined the phrase, "We stand on the shoulders of giants," though this may also have been a slight to Hooke, who was short.

It's not an exaggeration to say that Newton's discoveries changed the world.

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Calculus allowed Halley to determine the orbits of comets and predict their return, robbing them of the awe and terror they had inspired. Romantics of the 19th century, revolting against what they saw as "cold rationality," denounced Newton for explaining some of the great mysteries of the universe and robbing them of their power.

Newton's laws inspired the search for laws in other fields. For example, the birth of the science of economics was based on the collection of data such as population, national income, shipping tonnage, and coinage in circulation. By , the Age of Reason was in full flower and the Declaration of Independence of the American colonies justified revolution by calling on "Nature's Laws.

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Yet these plays still offer new insights into his character and the nature of science. I highly recommend reading "Newton's Darkness: I saw "Calculus" last year in San Francisco and was captivated by the spirited dialogue and by the forceful portrayal of each character by professional actors. While there is much to be gained by reading a play, seeing it has a much greater impact. I urge everyone, particularly members of the American Chemical Society, to encourage the presentation of these two plays and Djerassi's other plays on college campuses and by local theater groups http: There is hardly a better way to promote science literacy than through the mingling of science and art, as accomplished in these plays.

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Shakhashiri is a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he holds the William T. Or to mine, Mr Newton.


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Kindly pass me that. Have you ever inserted a bodkin between your eyeball and the bone, Wickins, as near to the back of your eye as you can? How can you stomach to do such a thing? How can I not, when the acquisition of knowledge is at stake? Withdraw it before you blind yourself. The Lord preserve me, Catherine, I almost struck you. Pause You want to know why I wrote those terrible things? Only if you wish to tell me.

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As this is the last time we will ever meet, I will acquaint you with the truth. Skip to content Menu. Rudolf Steiner's Rudolf Steiner in the Waldorf School Foundations of Waldorf PDF "Ultimately, isn't really it a really holy and spiritual legal responsibility to domesticate and train the divine religious point that manifests anew in each man or woman who's born? Two Dramatic Views - download pdf or read online "What goal is served through exhibiting that England's maximum ordinary thinker is defective.

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