Lost notes of Isaac Newton found
Notes on alchemy disappeared after 1936 auction
Updated: 2:36 p.m. ET July 1, 2005
LONDON - A collection of notes by the 17th century English
mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, that scientists
thought had been lost forever, have been found.
The notes on alchemy were originally discovered after Newton's death
in 1727 but were lost after they were sold at auction in July 1936
for 15 pounds ($27).
They were found while researchers were cataloguing manuscripts at
the Royal Society, Britain's academy of leading scientists.
"This is a hugely exciting find for Newton scholars and for
historians of science in general," Dr John Young, of London's
Imperial College Newton Project, said in a statement on Friday.
Newton's celebrated work "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia
Mathematica" (or Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) is
considered one of the most important works in the history of modern
In it he formulates the three laws of motion and that of gravity.
Some scientists in Newton's time believed alchemy held the secret of
how to transform base metals into silver or gold. Newton's notes
were written in English in his own handwriting.
"It provides vital evidence about the alchemical authors Newton was
reading, and the alchemical theories he was investigating in the
last decades of the 17th century," Young added.
The notes will be on display at the Royal Society's annual Summer
Science Exhibition in London which begins on July 4.
Einstein manuscript found in Netherlands
Leiden archives yield original draft of 1925 paper on 'mono-atoms'
Updated: 8:52 p.m. ET Aug. 20, 2005
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The original manuscript of a paper Albert
Einstein published in 1925 has been found in the archives of Leiden
University's Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics, scholars
The handwritten manuscript titled "Quantum theory of the monatomic
ideal gas" was dated December 1924. Considered one of Einstein's
last great breakthroughs, it was published in the proceedings of the
Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin in January 1925.
High-resolution photographs of the 16-page, German-language
manuscript and an account of its discovery were posted on the
institute's Web site.
"It was quite exciting" when a student working on his master's
thesis uncovered the delicate manuscript written in Einstein's
distinctive scrawl, said professor Carlo Beenakker. "You can even
see Einstein's fingerprints in some places, and it's full of notes
and markups from his editor."
"We're going to keep it as a reminder of his visits here, which is
quite a fond memory for us," Beenakker said.
The German-born physicist, who was Jewish, taught in Berlin between
1914 and 1933, fleeing to the United States after Adolf Hitler came
Einstein, whose name is now synonymous with genius was a frequent
guest lecturer at Leiden in the 1920s due to his friendship with
physicist Paul Ehrenfest, among whose papers the manuscript was
The paper predicted that at temperatures near absolute zero - around
460 degrees below zero - particles in a gas can reach a state of
such low energy that they clump together in one larger "mono-atom."
The idea was developed in collaboration with Indian physicist
Satyendra Nath Bose and the then-theoretical state of matter was
dubbed a Bose-Einstein condensation.
In 1995, University of Colorado at Boulder scientists Eric Cornell
and Carl Wiemann created such a condensation using a gas of the
element rubidium and were awarded the Nobel prize for physics in
2001, together with Wolfgang Ketterle of the Massachusetts Institute
Beenakker said the student who found the manuscript, Rowdy Boeyink,
was painstakingly reviewing documents in the archive for a thesis on
Ehrenfest when he came across the Einstein manuscript and
immediately recognized its importance.
He said Boeyink had found other interesting documents during his
search, including a letter from Danish physicist Niels Bohr, and was
all but certain to receive top marks on his thesis.