[ExI] social distancing, was: RE: > Taiwan is standing strong

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 19 23:07:28 UTC 2020

On Mar 19, 2020, at 2:23 PM, John Clark via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> Who knows maybe something good will come out of this. In 1666 Cambridge was shut down due to the Bubonic plague, Isaac Newton had to go home and he had nothing to do but sit around under an apple tree. And then he got the idea for Calculus and for the law of universal gravitation. It would be cool if something like that happened now.

To be sure, Newton did learn much from Isaac Barrow when at Cambridge and the calculus builds on earlier work, both Newton’s own and the works of many others that he’d read. (The influence of Descartes on Newton is often overlooked here.) Doesn’t mean his break didn’t have an impact, though I’m not sure it was decisive.

One sad thing was he didn’t publish right away because this lead to others following similar leads (from Barrow, Fermat, etc.), most notably Leibniz. And this lead to acrimony that slowed down some of the interchange of mathematical ideas between Britain and the Continent in its wake — or so it seems to me.

> Stay healthy everybody

You as well.


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