Quotes Sir Isaac Newton

A selection of quotes by the famous scientist  Sir Isaac Newton on the topics of maths, science, religion and life.

“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.”

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people. ”

“…from the same principles, I now demonstrate the frame of the System of the World.”

Principia Mathematica.

“To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. `Tis much better to do a little with certainty, and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things.”

Quoted in G Simmons Calculus Gems (New York 1992).

“The description of right lines and circles, upon which geometry is founded, belongs to mechanics. Geometry does not teach us to draw these lines, but requires them to be drawn.”

Principia Mathematica.

“The latest authors, like the most ancient, strove to subordinate the phenomena of nature to the laws of mathematics.”

To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age…

Preface to Opticks (1704

“If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Letter to Robert Hooke

“I know not what I appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Quoted in D Brewster, Memoirs of Newton

“Numero pondere et mensura Deus omnia condidit

“God created everything by number, weight and measure.”

“I will not define time, space, place and motion, as being well known to all.”

Principia Mathematica

“I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.”

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”

“Are not gross bodies and light convertible into one another; and may not bodies receive much of their activity from the particles of light which enter into their composition? The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations.”

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002)

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

– Sir Isaac Newton, Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (1855)

“The other part of the true religion is our duty to man. We must love our neighbour as our selves, we must be charitable to all men for charity is the greatest of graces, greater then even faith or hope & covers a multitude of sins. We must be righteous & do to all men as we would they should do to us.”

A short Schem of the true Religion

“Religion is partly fundamental & immutable partly circumstantial & mutable. The first was the Religion of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham Moses Christ & all the saints & consists of two parts our duty towards God & our duty towards man or piety & righteousness, piety which I will here call Godliness & Humanity.”

A short Schem of the true Religion

“Righteousness is the religion of the kingdom of heaven & even the property of God himself towards man. Righteousness & Love are inseparable for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

A short Schem of the true Religion

Who, by vigour of mind almost divine, the motions and figures of the planets, the paths of comets, and the tides of the seas first demonstrated.

[His epitaph:]

Isaac Newton

Book Cover

 

Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

Book Cover

 

Related pages