Voltaire and Algarotti: diffusers of Newton's optics in Europe in the eighteen century

Breno Arsioli Moura Cibelle Celestino Silva About the authors

Abstract

In the beginning of 18th century, Newton published his main work about light and colors, the Opticks. Impregnated by an inductive perspective, the book became the major reference for the studies about light and colors, being widely popularized by Newton's followers. In this article, we analyze how two important works contributed to this process of popularization and also what image of science they intended to propagate: Voltaire's Elements of Newton's philosophie and Algarotti's Sir Isaac Newton's philosophy explain'd for the use of the ladies. We will be notice that both authors distorted the content of the Opticks, in order to propagate an idealized image of Newtonian ideas and natural philosophy itself.

Keywords
Newton; Voltaire; Algarotti; Optics; 18th century; Popularization of science

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