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By Magie W.F.

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For ail we know, members of the commit­ tee met and sifted through documents provided by Newton or by Sloane. ” The report was soon printed under the title Commercium Epistolicum D. Johannis Collins et aliorum de analysi promota (“The Correspondence of John Collins and Others About the Develop­ ment of Analysis”), and sent privately te influential savants at home and abroad. To ensure that the message would not get lost, Newton also reviewed the book (anonymously, of course) for the Philosophical Transactions.

Cardinal de Polignac, who served as president of the Académie in 1718, used his term in office to induce Jean Truchet (Père Sébastien) to pré­ paré the experiments, the cost of which the Cardinal himself bore. ” Two years later, Polignac was instrumental in arranging for another trial. ”” Neither these trials, nor the French translation by Pierre (Joste - the handsome second Paris édition (1722) included an illus­ tration by Newton that was drawn by him especially for the édition - put an end to the debates over Newton’s theory of light and colors.

His friend Chevalier de Louville had published in 1720 in the Memoirs of the Académie a paper on the earth’s orbit, remarkable as much for its approbatory expo­ sition of universal gravitation as for its failure This dazzling représentation of the Cartesian vision of the solar System - a plate from Bernard de Fontenelle’s Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (Amsterdam, 1719) - depicts, at center, the planets and their satellites as they swirl around the sun engulfed in their respective vortices.

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