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Extra resources for Atoms and Powers: An Essay on Newtonian Matter-Theory and the Development of Chemistry

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T h u s N ew ton displayed his full conviction, in a way in w hich, for fear of bein g accounted an “extrav ag an t freak,” he n ev er d id in his p u b lish ed work. 5. b e lo w . 3 ' T u r n b u l l (1 9 5 9 -6 1 ), N e w t o n C o r r e s p o n d e n c e , I II , 384. 34 38 Q u o t e d fr o m a m a n u s c r ip t r e p r o d u c e d in C o h e n (1 9 6 6 ), “ N e w t o n ’s p h ilo s ­ o p h y ,” 180. 35 Atoms and Powers Chem istry, Forces, and the Structure of M atter course in the Q ueries th a t slowly p ile d u p on the m ain b u lk of the Opticks, till they alm ost o b scured th e w ork itself.

N o r is it su rp risin g th a t N e w to n ’s a tte m p t to list the m etals in the o rd e r of th e ir a ttra c­ tive pow ers was to fascinate E. F. G eoffroy an d lead, th ro u g h the la tte r ’s table, to the host of late-eighteenth-century attem pts to q u a n tify the force of chem ical affinity. In the 1717 editio n of the O pticks the pow erful effect of these speculations on shortrange attractive forces was fu rth e r stre n g th e n ed by the ad d itio n of yet m ore ex p erim en tal evidence taken from the w ork of Francis H auksbee.

T h e second of these was to express the essence of N ew to n ’s n atu ra l philosophy: A n d if N a tu re be m ost sim ple and fully con so n an t to her self she observes the same m eth o d in re g u la tin g the m otions of sm aller bodies w hich she d o th in re g u latin g those of the greater. T h is p rin c ip le of N a tu re being very rem o te from the conceptions of philosophers I forbore to describe it in [the Principia] least I should be accounted an ex travagant freak an d so p reju d ice my readers against all those things ^vhich w ere the m ain design of the book; b u t and yet I h in te d at it b o th in the preface and in the book it self w here I speak of the inflection of lig h t an d of the elastick pow er of the air: b u t th e design of th a t book being secured by the a p p ro b atio n of m ath em atician s, I had n o t scrupled to propose this p rin ­ ciple in plain words.

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Atoms and Powers: An Essay on Newtonian Matter-Theory and the Development of Chemistry by Arnold. THACKRAY

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