“All in Pieces?” New Insights into the Structure of Newton’s Thought

October 10-11, 2014, San Marino, CA, United States

Isaac Newton’s remarkable achievements in physics and mathematics constituted only a small part of his overall intellectual endeavor. In addition to the discoveries that made him famous, Newton was deeply involved in the study of Biblical prophecy and theology, the chronology of the ancient world, and alchemy. Were these pursuits connected to one another in Newton’s mind? This conference will devote itself to the question of coherence in Newton’s thought as a whole. Location: Ahmanson Room, Brody Botanical Center, San Marino, CA

Sir Isaac Newton, “Enumeration of Lines of the Third Order” (c. 1667–1703); Cambridge University Library, Add. MS 3961.


8:30 Registration & Coffee

9:30 Welcome: Steve Hindle (The Huntington)

Remarks: Rob Iliffe (University of Sussex) William Newman (Indiana University)

Session 1 Natural Philosophy and Religion

Moderator: Rob Iliffe Stephen Snobelen (University of King’s College) “Newton, the Cosmos, and the Apocalypse” Andrew Janiak (Duke University) “The Intersection of Theology and Philosophy in Newton’s Mature Work” Mordechai Feingold (Caltech) “Science and Religion in the Thought of Isaac Newton”

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Session 2

Newton and the Experimental Method

Moderator: Mary Terrall (University of California, Los Angeles) Alan Shapiro (University of Minnesota) “Newton’s Experimental Quest: An (In)tolerance for Error” Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest) “Newton’s ‘Baconianism’”

3:00 Break

3:15 Session 3

Mathematics and Mechanics

Moderator: William Newman Niccolò Guicciardini (University of Bergamo) “On Newton’s Mathematical Writings: Disciplinary Boundaries, Unity, Writing Practices, and Styles” Mary Domski (University of New Mexico) “Mechanics in Geometry and Natural Philosophy: Newton’s Programmatic Statement against Descartes”


9:00 Registration & Coffee

9:30 Session 4

The Textual and Contextual Backdrop to Newton’s Work

Moderator: Mordechai Feingold Sarah Hutton (Aberystwyth University) “Newton, Metaphysics, and the Cambridge Context” Scott Mandelbrote (University of Cambridge) “Newton the Scholar”

11:30 Lunch

12:30 Session 5

Newton and the prisca sapientia

Moderator: Stephen Snobelen John Henry (University of Edinburgh) “Why Did Newton End the Opticks the Way He Did?” William Newman “Newton and the Golden Bough: Alchemy, Physics, and the Ancient Tradition”

2:30 Break

2:45 Session 6

New Approaches and Findings from the Digital Corpora

Moderator: Niccolò Guicciardini Rob Iliffe “Recreating Newton: Digitization and Historical Practice” Cornelis J. Schilt (University of Sussex) “On Composition: The Chronology of Chronology”

4:30 Summary Jed Buchwald (Caltech) Seating for this event is limited. Registrations will be handled on a first come, first served basis. You are advised to register as soon as possible.

Please mail form and check payable to “The Huntington” to: Juan Gomez, The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino CA 91108. PHONE: (626) 405-3432 EMAIL: researchconference@huntington.org Please note: Conference registration does not include entrance to the research library.

Posted: September 22, 2014