FEB 23, 2022
AAO2021 Video Program
Francois-Marie Arouet (aka Voltaire) was present at Isaac Newton's funeral in Westminster Abbey on March 28, 1727. During the following year, he studied, understood and praised the work of Newton. In 1738 he published in French and English The Elements of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy, where he discussed the reader's views of Newton's optics, explaining refraction, reflection, etc. He made clearer Newton's theory about the universe and its implications for metaphysics and theology. The Elements of Voltaire is a synthesis of two of the 17th and 18th centuries' greatest minds. This conversation between the two great men is presented in our video. At the start, an outline of the scientific theories before Newton is presented, and finally, Newton's works are discussed (Principia and mainly Opticks). Newton's relationship with physicians and oculists (such as his friend William Briggs) also is examined. The influence of Voltaire's friend Marquise Emilie du Chatelet, mathematician and chemist, her encouragement and finally her involvement in the edition of the work also is emphasized.