The Burns Library is lucky enough to have not one but two different editions of Newton’s famous work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, otherwise known as Principia). As noted in this article from the Summer 2010 Boston College Magazine, the Burns Library just acquired the first edition (published in 1687) of the Principia in January 2010.
The Burns Library also owns an interesting re-print of the second edition of the Principia, which features a section on Newton’s system of calculus at the end – thus making this 1723 edition the first time that Newton’s calculus and his Principia were published together. If you don’t read Latin then read this English translation online (through the Internet Archive) or look at Andrew Motte’s English translation at the O’Neill Library (O’Neill Stacks QA803 .N413 1995).
Please contact the Burns Library Reading Room (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-552-4861) if you are interested in learning more about our early scientific works or looking at any of these books in the Reading Room.
For those of you who are reading from afar and can’t visit the Burns Reading Room, check out this website by Babson College. Babson College has digitized the first, second and third editions of the Principia as part of their Grace K. Babson Collection. The Newton Project, sponsored by the University of Sussex, is also a wonderful website that features Newton’s manuscripts as well as his published works.