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

By Stanley Goldberg

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They included other additions to Book I beyond those I have mentioned. As a result the book was becoming excessively long. Newton decided to divide it in two, so that the entire work would contain three books, and in April 1686 he dispatched the manuscript of Book I (in the final numbering scheme) to the Royal Society. From Halley, who not only had a personal connection with the work because of his original visit to Cambridge but also was Secretary of the Royal Society, he received a reply in two paragraphs.

In his first letter, Newton blundered and treated the path as a spiral that ended at the center of the earth. Hooke corrected him with explicit reference to his own theory of orbital motion, to wit, that orbital motion is compounded from a tangential motion and an attraction toward the center. 6 That letter formed the basis of Hooke's later charge of plagiarism. Remembering his early paper in which he had derived the inverse-square relation from Kepler's third law, and recognizing in Hooke's letter the lack of a solid foundation for the assertion, Newton always refused to consider that Hooke had any claim whatever.

One should not neglect to notice the significance of that conversation; as I suggested earlier, the problem central to the Principia was defining itself in a number of minds. The conversation in London had not reached any conclusion, however, and Halley now put the same question to Newton. The orbit would be an ellipse, Newton replied immediately. How did he know? He had calculated it. Could Halley see the calculation? 8 As a result, about three months later, Halley received a nine-page treatise that is universally known by a name it did not carry, De motu.

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