David Bodanis

Last of the Magicians

The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts


Oxford University Press 238pp £25 order from our bookshop

What is genius like? Newton left over 8 million words of notes at his death, and somewhere in that mass was the answer. But many of those who first got a glimpse of them were so appalled at what they found that, as Sarah Dry, the author of this fascinating tale recounts, they made sure the bulk of the papers ‘remained unexamined, hidden from sight for more than seven generations’.

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