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- 1. How to think like Isaac Newton<br />Damian Gordon<br />
- 2. Isaac Newton<br />Born 4 January 1643<br />Died 31 March 1727<br />Born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth Lincolnshire<br />An English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian.<br />
- 3. Seven Principles<br />The Plague<br />Secretiveness<br />Antagonism<br />Bad teaching<br />Dot notation<br />Occult studies<br />Mercury poisoning<br />
- 4. The Plague<br />
- 5. The Plague<br />Both in 1665 and in 1666 Newton’s College, Trinity, was dismissed on account of the Great Plague of London. <br />During those two years many of his later discoveries were first developed.<br />
- 6. The Plague<br />EXERCISE<br />Try to get a sample of the original Great Plague and find some rats to infect with it.<br />If you can’t shut down your college in this way, think of other interesting ways to close down your college for two years – maybe bicycle lock all of the doors?<br />
- 7. Secretiveness<br />
- 8. Secretiveness<br />Newton was notoriously secretive, he didn’t want to publish his findings for fear of criticism. <br />As a consequence he accused other people of plagiarism when they published ideas that he had also thought of. <br />Perhaps the most famous of these cases were his disputes with Leibniz over calculus.<br />Gottfried Leibniz<br />
- 9. Secretiveness<br />EXERCISE<br />I have three really excellent exercises to improve your secretiveness<br />I’m not going to tell you.<br />?<br />
- 10. Antagonism<br />
- 11. Antagonism<br />Newton started feuds with other scientists on a regular basis, and these feuds lasted for years.<br />His antagonism towards Robert Hooke was legendary, they fought over credit for work on gravitation, the planets and to a lesser degree light.<br />Robert Hooke<br />
- 12. Antagonism<br />EXERCISE<br />If there is anyone you know who you even remotely dislike, try to foster and grow your antagonism. Draw caricatures of the person and leave them around. Start a flame war with them. Accuse them of plagiarism.<br />Make yourself more angry by wearing shoes that are too tight and rubbing peppers in your face.<br />
- 13. Bad teaching<br />
- 14. Bad teaching<br />When Newton was elected Lucasian professor on 1670, it was his duty as professor to lecture regularly.<br />The subject which Newton chose for his lectures was optics. <br />These lectures did little to expand his reputation, as they were remarkably sparsely attended; frequently leaving Newton to lecture to empty classrooms.<br />
- 15. Bad teaching<br />EXERCISE<br />When you are teaching try to keep your voice at a monotone.<br />Try to use obscure terminology where possible.<br />Tell anecdotes that are totally irrelevant.<br />Make sure this is no coherent structure to your lectures, you can do this by taking two existing lectures that are unrelated and mix the notes together.<br />Don’t practice or prepare in any way.<br />
- 16. Dot notation<br />
- 17. Dot notation<br />Newton's notation for differentiation, or dot notation, uses a dot placed over a function name to denote the time derivative of that function. <br />Newton referred to this as a fluxion.<br />Dot notation is not very useful for higher-order derivatives.<br />
- 18. Dot notation<br />EXERCISE<br />Try to develop your own notation that is both inconvenient and cumbersome.<br />Make sure you are inconsistent in your usage of it, but at the same time insist that everyone else uses it.<br />
- 19. Occult Studies<br />
- 20. Occult Studies<br />In his book “Hypothesis of Light” of 1675, Newton posited the existence of the ether to transmit forces between particles. <br />He later replaced the ether with occult forces based on Hermetic ideas of attraction and repulsion between particles. <br />John Maynard Keynes, who acquired many of Newton's writings on alchemy, stated that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason: He was the last of the magicians."<br />
- 21. Occult Studies<br />EXERCISE<br />Study the daftest elements of the occult, suggest that everything is caused by ether or magic.<br />Spend years decoding bad alchemists secret codes and discover that there is no useful information to be gained.<br />
- 22. Mercury poisoning<br />
- 23. Mercury poisoning<br />After his death, Newton's body was discovered to have had massive amounts of mercury in it, probably resulting from his alchemical pursuits. <br />Mercury poisoning could explain Newton's eccentricity in late life.<br />
- 24. Mercury poisoning<br />Try to get as much mercury into your body as possible, it’ll drive you mad.<br />Think of a range of ways of ingesting and absorbing it. Add it to your breakfast, fill a bathtub with it, add it to your tea.<br />
- 25. In Summary<br />The Plague<br />Secretiveness<br />Antagonism<br />Bad teaching<br />Dot notation<br />Occult studies<br />Mercury poisoning<br />
- 26. NOTE<br />This presentation is not serious, but Michael J. Gelb’s excellent book “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci” is a really great and worth getting a copy of.<br />

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