Christmas Trilogy 2012 Part I: Did Isaac really victimise Stephen?

Isaac Newton was not a nice man. When he was holding court in a London coffee house dispensing wisdom and his mathematical manuscripts to his acolytes he was probably friendly and magnanimous. Also, when he was chatting over breakfast with his housekeeper niece the society beauty, Catherine Barton, of whom he was very fond he was probably very charming. However when it came to defending his mathematical and philosophical theories against his scientific rivals he had the manners of a rabid wolverine on steroids. His intellectual wars with Robert Hooke, Gottfried Leibniz and John Flamsteed have become the stuff of history of science legends known, at least in outline, even to those only mildly interested in the subject. Frank Manuel in his psychological study of Newton described it thus. Newton regarded the natural world as his garden and it was his privilege and God given duty to uncover its secrets. Others who dared to do so were poachers infringing on his private property. However was Stephen Gray really one of his victims? David H. Clarke and Stephen P. H. Clarke (henceforth referred to as C2) thought so and wrote a whole book about it with the provocative title Newton’s TyrannyThe Suppressed Scientific Discoveries of Stephen Gray and John Flamsteed. [Were they right?]

About thonyc

Aging freak who fell in love with the history of science and now resides mostly in the 16th century.
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