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|This copy of Sir Isaac Newton's "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" sold at auction for $3.7 million.|
Photo: Christie's Images
The book has a Latin title — "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica," which translates to "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy," but scholars often call it the Principia. After Newton (1642-1727) wrote the book, he gave it to the English astronomer Edmond Halley (1656-1742) for editing, and it was printed and sold in London more than 300 years ago, in 1687.
The book is a pivotal piece of science and history, and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein called it "perhaps the greatest intellectual stride that it has ever been granted to any man to make." Even so, Christie's expected the goat-skin-covered book to bring in between $1 million and $1.5 million, but the unnamed bidder bought it for nearly four times that value at $3,719,500. [Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds]
The Principia famously elucidates Newton's three laws of motion, explaining how objects move under the influences of external forces. Physics students today still use the laws, which include:
-An object will remain in a state of inertia unless acted upon by force.
-The relationship between acceleration and applied force is force equals mass times acceleration (F=MA).
-For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Source: Live Science