AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXIII , No. 1, Spring 2001


Newton Project to Publish Papers Displaying a Many-Faceted Mind

The Newton Project, based at Cambridge University and Imperial College, London, was formed in 1998 to produce both electronic and printed editions of Newton's theological, alchemical and Royal Mint administration papers, to complement the scientific papers already published. These editions will shed light on the differences and connections between distinct areas of his work. There are a number of links between different elements in Newton's work, such as theology and natural philosophy. For example, Newton himself thought that his scientific discoveries constituted evidence for the existence of an Omnipotent and mathematically adept Creator. On the other hand, he argued that certain aspects of his scientific approach were incompatible with his work in alchemy and theology. Aside from any connection to his work in natural philosophy, his extraordinary theological and alchemical papers are unquestionably important in their own right.

The project intends to make available online transcripts of all of Newton's writings, including notes and marginalia, along with scholarly editorial apparatus and translations of non-English text. Initially, the staff will place online basic transcripts of Newton's most significant theological treatises, followed by the alchemical and then the Mint papers, obeying the highest standards of contemporary editorial practice. Eventually, a preliminary catalog of known manuscripts (and their present location) will be made available on the Internet.

A number of other electronic editions are being planned for other figures, but the size and nature of Newton's archive means that this is one of the most ambitious projects of its kind. Besides the electronic edition, the project will produce a printed edition of Newton's theological, alchemical and administrative papers. Comprising about twenty volumes, it will stand alongside the already existing editions of Newton's work in physics, mathematics and optics. For more information see The project is located at Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK; e-mail:

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