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The Life of Isaac Newton by Richard S. Westfall

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13

Years of Decline

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PRIORITY DISPUTE dragged on with diminished intensity for another six years and during that time continued to occupy a major part of Newton’s consciousness. He had never been able to lay a project down easily. Wound up as tightly as he was now, and with his honor at stake, he could not put the dispute aside simply because his antagonist had died. It was 1723 when its final faint echo was Newton’s refusal to reply to a letter from Bernoulli.

Among its other effects, the controversy served to remind Newton that he needed to give attention to his intellectual legacy. As a result, he devoted considerable attention during his old age to new editions of his works. In 1717, it was a new edition of the Opticks. He ...

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