5. Newton

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born and educated in England. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and there found the inspiration for his prodigious work that was to synthesize and extend the labors of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and others beyond the wildest dreams of any of them. Newton was the intellectual giant who set the direction of the physical sciences on the paths they were to follow undeviatingly into the twentieth century. [excerpt]

Additional Resources

Some material in the original text is restricted by copyright. Here are links to earlier editions or translations of the same material:

Sir Isaac Newton. System of the World (Fayram, 1731).


This is a part of Section VIII: The Development of Modern Science. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.