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The Life of Isaac Newton by Richard S. Westfall

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7

Years of Silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY THE END OF 1676, as absorbed in theology and alchemy as he was distracted by correspondence and criticism on optics and mathematics, Newton had virtually cut himself off from the scientific community. Oldenburg died in September 1677, not having heard from Newton for more than half a year. Newton terminated his exchange with Collins by the blunt expedient of not writing. It took him another year to conclude the correspondence on optics, but by the middle of 1678, he succeeded. As nearly as he could, he had reversed the policy of public communication that he began with his letter to Collins in 1670 and retreated to the quiet of his academic sanctuary. He did not emerge for nearly a decade.

Humphrey Newton sketched ...

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