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24 The two statements do seem to me to offer accurate descriptions of the process I have tried to describe. Central to it was incredibly intensive concentration sustained some thirty months. As he probed the orbital dynamics with which he began, Newton uncovered ever deeper levels of meaning, first the law of universal gravitation, then a new ideal of science itself. One thinks inevitably of Wordsworth's lines inspired by the statue in the Trinity College chapel: The marble index of a mind for ever Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.

The first thing one notices is that the paper did not contain the idea of universal gravitation. Quite the contrary, it spoke of the tendencies of bodies in orbit to recede from the center. Nevertheless, it appears to me that Newton must have had some inchoate idea at the back of his mind. It is a strange comparison to have carried out, finding the ratio between the tendency of one body to recede from a center and that of another to approach it. As I say, it appears to me that he must have had some idea in his mind to make such a comparison, for he did remember the paper years later and at that time considered it to have marked an important step in his own development.

18. Herivel, Background, p. 297. 19. Correspondence, 2, pp. 437-439. 20. Principia, p. 397. NEWTON'S DEVELOPMENT OF PRINCIPIA 43 21. King's College, Cambridge, Keynes MS 133, p. 10. 22. Galileo, Two New Sciences, trans. Stillman Drake, (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1974), p. 225. 23. This anecdote appeared in French (en y pensant sans cesse) as a note to Voltaire's Elemens de la philosophic de Newton in the so-called Kehl edition of his Oeuvres (17851789). There is some reason to think that the note rested on Voltaire's authority and that the story derived from his stay in England.

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Albert Einstein and the creative act : the case of special relativity by Stanley Goldberg


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