online exhibition

rare book library



natural philosophy

Natural philosophy in the early modern period is roughly what we today would call science. It was the study of nature in all its various dimensions. It included the study of the structure and function of all natural objects from the very distant to the very small. Isaac Newton called his famous book Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and Francis Bacon believed that he had provided a new method for natural philosophy. Indeed it is somewhat artificial to display works in, say, natural history or chemistry as if they are separate categories to natural philosophy. Interestingly, many writers even regarded travel literature as an important source of knowledge for natural philosophy. Here we display a cluster of works which give different theories of natural philosophy and a cluster of works relating to Newton's Principia. The sections on Astronomy and Cosmology, Chemistry and works on the nature of the air present works in various disciplines within natural philosophy.

index exhibition