DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his Principia, in which he outlined his laws of gravity and motion. His work on comets was decidedly incomplete. Edmund Halley asked to see his calculations and was told by Newton that he could not find them, but promised to redo them and send them on later, which he eventually did, in a short treatise entitled 'On the motion of bodies in an orbit'. Halley recognised the importance of the work and returned to Cambridge to arrange its publication with Newton, who instead went on to expand it into his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica published at Halley's expense in 1687. Newton's Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which dominated scientists' view of the physical universe for the next three centuries removing the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the cosmos.
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