Important Discovery: Bacon and Newton’s Universal Principle of Gravitation

An important breakthrough for Bacon’s crucial role and influence in scientific discovery has been made by PhD student Xiaona Wang, who demonstrated at the Society’s June talk that it was Francis Bacon’s ideas that led to Newton’s Universal Principle of Gravitation.

We have provided two edits of Xiaona and Professor John Henry’s fascinating talk, entitled Francis Bacon’s Magic and the Universal Principle of Gravitation.

The first is the complete talk with context and introduction by Professor John Henry:

The second is an edited version, concentrating on the crux of Xiaona’s important discoveries:

The accepted story from historians of science, is the development from magnetic attraction to gravitational attraction was brought about after William Gilbert (1544-1603) by thinkers like Christopher Wren (1632-1723), Robert Hooke (1635-1703), and ending with Newton (1642-1727). Xiaona Wang recently discovered that it was Francis Bacon (1561-1626) whose previously unnoticed magical beliefs, and particularly action at a distance, that were of crucial importance to Newton and without which he could not have written his Universal Principle of Gravitation.

We encourage members to share these important new findings as widely as possible, to ensure that Bacon’s role in this historical discovery is acknowledged by the wider community.

Reference Francis Bacon Novum Organum Concerning the Interpretation of Nature Book II Aphorisms 36 and 45, and The Wisdom of the Ancients: ‘Cupid and the Atom’, and ‘Pan and Nature’.

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