Monday, April 27, 2015

Isaac Newton link to Massachusetts

I thought there only existed a fictional link between Isaac Newton and Massachusetts through Neal Stephenson "The Baroque Cycle" novels with its Daniel Waterhouse character, Newton's fictional classmate and friend, who emigrated to New England:

"Born in 1645 to and youngest son of Drake Waterhouse, a noted Puritan enthusiast and millenarian, Daniel is introduced to John Wilkins, one of the founders of the Royal Society, who recognizes great intellectual potential in the boy. Wilkins plants the seeds of science in young Daniel's brain and arranges for Daniel to attend Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, Daniel befriends Roger Comstock (the future Marquis of Ravenscar), James Scott (the Duke of Monmouth and bastard son of King Charles II), and Isaac Newton. "

"Later, Daniel emigrates to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where he becomes something of a "mad scientist" figure, earning the amused contempt of more traditional scholars at Harvard as he founds the Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts, a transparent analogy for the real-life MIT, and devotes his energies to creating a mechanical computer, going so far as to create punch cards to control its functions. After his return to England to participate in resolving the calculus dispute, Daniel re-creates his punch card system for controlling machinery, and is one of the first to recognize the potential usefulness of the new Stirling engines. The Cycle closes with Daniel inspecting such an engine in use at a Cornish mine, as Daniel returns to America, representing the displacement of the superstitious, feudal, and parochial world into which Daniel was born by the triumphant industrial, scientific, and globalized world which Daniel helped create."

However, @34:25 from "NOVA" "The Great Math Mystery" Newton, on  Nov 19, 1680, documented comet observations from Boston, New England in his 1687 "Principia Mathematica":

but if you look at  original text, not only did Sir Isaac collect data from Massachusetts:

"Bostonia; autem in Nova-Anglia apparuit, in m, 3Rr- circiter eadem fere cum latitudine"

 but from Maryland and Virginia, as well:

Of course, only truly silly people think the Nabisco Fig Newton was named in honor of Sir Isaac, which is completely fallacious, from the Cambridge [MA] Historical Society:

"There is some speculation about the naming of the Fig Newton. One theory claims that the man who invented the machinery that makes Fig Newtons was so proud of his work that he named the cookie after Sir Isaac Newton. This is untrue, though. Fig Newtons were named after the nearby town. The original Kennedy Biscuit Company named all of their products after surrounding communities, including cookies and crackers called Shrewsbury, Harvard and Beacon Hill."

No offense, but I can't imagine eating a Shrewsbury Biscuit, sounds completely unappetizing, but maybe they were for people on a diet.... but apparently, they are, in fact, an actual thing in Britain: Ardeshir Salamat Irani of City Bakery in Pune explaining how Shrewsbury biscuits got their name from local dairy cows:

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