Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy…
Willem Jacob s’Gravesande (1688-1742)
London: Printed for J. Senex and W. Taylor, 1720
First English edition
QC19 G73 1720
Written in Latin by Willem Jacob s’Gravesande, Mathematical elements… was first published in Leiden in 1720. Illustrated with thirty-three folded engraved plates, this edition also contains a publisher’s catalog at the end.
Willem Jacob s’Gravesande was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy in Leiden in 1715. A friend of Isaac Newton, s’Gravesande gained fame by being the first to teach Newtonian philosophy. Mathematical elements… was dedicated to Newton.
In 1734, s’Gravesande was promoted to chair of Philosophy. The Reverend John Theophilus Desaguliers, a member of the Royal Society, a Copley medal winner, inventor and Freemason, translated s’Gravesande’s book into English the same year it was first published in Leiden, apparently at s’Gravesande’s request. As was the practice in the eighteenth century, s’Gravesande constantly corrected and added to his work, each edition being an amplification of the first. The work went through six editions. s’Gravesande, who relied heavily on Newton’s Principia and Opticks, used a philosophical and well-argued method of justifying scientific truths by self-evidence and experimental verification.