Newton's Opticks notes in flames, 1692

Newton's Opticks notes in flames, 1692

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Newton's Opticks notes in flames. Coloured historical artwork of the English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton (1642-1727), returning to his room to discover that his notes on optics are burning. This incident, in 1692, was blamed for a nervous breakdown that Newton suffered and his subsequent retirement for two years. The accident happened at Trinity College, Cambridge University, as Newton was preparing his book on light, Opticks (1704). Newton's dog, Diamond, knocked over a lighted candle onto several years' notes on optical experiments. On discovering this, Newton allegedly exclaimed "Oh Diamond, Diamond, little do you know the mischief you have done me".

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