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Mathematical Treasure: John Newton's Cosmographia

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

John Newton (1622–1678), who predated and was not related to the author of “Amazing Grace,” was an English mathematician and astronomer. He believed education of youth should be practical and published texts to promote this goal. His Cosmographia, which appeared in 1694, illustrated his aims by providing a review of basic mathematics pertaining to cosmology. Newton’s decsendants became noted London globe makers.

Title page for John Newton's 1694 Cosmographia.

A plate of illustrations supported the discussion on geometry.

 Geometry plate from John Newton's 1694 Cosmographia.

These images are provided courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. You may use them in your classroom; all other uses require permission from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The Mathematical Association of America is pleased to cooperate with the Beinecke Library and Yale University to make these images available to a larger audience. Readers may consult the full volume at institutions with a subscription to Early English Books Online.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: John Newton's Cosmographia," Convergence (September 2020)