Sir Issac Newton was extolled by the poet Alexander Pope thus:
“Nature and nature’s law lay hid in night;
For an enthusiastic reader thirsting for an easy first acquaintance with the principles and philosophies of this unsurpassed physicist, James Gleick’s concise biography is the pick of choice. Although not a magnum opus in its sweep or span, this book is an excellent reference for the seeker of Newton’s wisdom.
Where Gleick excels is in his deliberate and astute avoidance of physical, mechanical and gravitational abstractions. He shorns the conundrums of particle physics and quantum mechanics and substitutes arcane concepts with lucid and fundamental postulates. Therefore reflections and refractions transition from being ephemeral vexations to enjoyable phenomena.
The book also traverses into some interesting and bold realms dealing with inter personal squabbles and skirmishes. Newtonian retorts and ripostes involving Newton, Gottfried Leibnitz and Flamsteed make for some rambunctious reading.
Sir Issac Newton, a fatherless boy, a phenom of Physics and a dabbler in the occult was one of the unquestioned and unparalleled genius of our times. His work however was for the most part shrouded in secrecy and sheathed in mystery. The work of this invincible Giant was revealed to the world only after immense persuasion and in some cases, even posthumously.
James Glecik, however in this work of immense sincerity and passion, does his very best to explicitly reveal to his readers the most vital, memorable and immortal aspects of the father of Gravitation. And in this endeavour he succeeds singularly!