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The Online Digital Newton Project

Digital Humanities Symposium Keynote: Rob Iliffe

Thursday, February 28, 2013 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

 The Newton Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing in full an online edition of all of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642–1727) writings — whether they were printed or not. The edition presents a full (diplomatic) rendition of all the amendments Newton made to his own texts, but also offers more readable (normalized) version. We will also make available translations of his most important religious and scientific texts.

The Newton Project was conceived in 1998 and took on formalised existence with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board at the beginning of 2000. Our aim is to make it possible, for the first time in history, to grasp the organic unity of Newton's writing by garnering all his astonishingly diverse productions into a single, freely accessible electronic edition. Scholars with the time, leisure and finance to wade through hundreds of thousands of words of often intractable handwriting have come up with many intriguing theories about connections and interrelations between the apparently disparate subjects that fascinated Newton, but until now, readers without those advantages have simply not been in a position to examine the evidence.

It has been suggested, for instance, that Newton's alchemical studies generated the imaginative spark that led him to formulate the theory of gravity, and that his almost abstract concept of God was predicated on his unique insights into mathematics. Big questions have been asked too about whether or not the categories we impose on knowledge are relevant to his work at all. Would Newton himself have understood our distinctions between 'scientific', 'mathematical', 'alchemical' and 'theological' papers? And if so, to what extent did he perceive them as interrelated? By presenting the entire body of his work in a freely accessible, electronically searchable online version, the Newton Project will enable users to draw their own conclusions about these and similar issues.

Rob Iliffe is the Director of the AHRC Newton Papers Project with an overall responsibility for completing the online publication of all four million words of Newton's Theological Papers. He is also responsible for extending the scope of the original project to include dealing with Newton's scientific and mathematical work. Rob gained his PhD from Cambridge University and is currently Professor of Intellectual History and the History of Science at the University of Sussex. He is the author of A Very Short Introduction to Isaac Newton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), and has published extensively on early modern history and the history of science. He is currently completing a major work on Newton's theology for online release.

 


Memorial Union (campus map)
Journey Room
Corvallis
OR
Free
Robert Peckyno
541-737-8560
robert.peckyno at oregonstate.edu
School of History, Philosophy, and Religion