Kirsten Walsh writes…
My PhD is on Isaac Newton. Working within the experimental/speculative framework of our project, I am taking a fresh look the development of Newton’s method of natural philosophy. I am addressing the following research questions:
- What does Newton’s method amount to?
- What were the key innovations in Newton’s method of natural philosophy?
- To what extent was Newton’s method influenced by the Baconian method of natural history?
- Where does Newton’s method fit in the experimental/speculative framework?
I am developing a clearer account of the ‘mathematical revolution’ in natural philosophy that began with Newton.
At the moment I am examining Newton’s famous first optical paper, read to the Royal Society in February 1672. Newton’s new theory of light and colours sparked controversy. He had to defend his views against the objections of some important natural philosophers: Hooke, Pardies and Huygens. The debate forced Newton to clarify his views on scientific method. I hope that closer analysis of this controversy will give us a clearer idea of Newton’s early views on method, hypotheses, queries, and experiment.
My work is at an early stage, and I’d love to hear your comments.