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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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John Keill


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John Keill : Introductio ad veram physicam

'For the rest - I continued reading Newton's "Principia" with considerable perseverance & little success - till on arriving a short way into the third book - I discovered that I had too little knowledge of Astronomy, to understand his reasoning rightly. And I forthwith sent to Edinr for De Lambre's "abr?g? d'Astronomie"; and in the mean time, betook myself to reading Wood's "optics". I cannot say much about this book. Its author intermeddles not with the abstruse parts of the science - such as the causes of reflection & refraction?the reason why transparent bodies, at given angles of incidence, reflect their light almost entirely (concerning which, I meet with many learned details, in the Encyclopedia Britan) - but contents himself with demonstrating, in a plain enough manner, the ordinary effects of plane & spherical mirrors - and of lenses of various kinds - applying his doctrines, to the explanation of various optical instruments & remarkable phenomena. But in truth, I know little about it, I read it with too great velocity. - I also read Keil's "introductio ad veram Physicam"; but I shall let it pass till next time I write. In fine De Lambre arrived; & I have read into his fourth Le?on -and like it greatly.I intended to have told you some of his observations - but I would not overwhelm you with ennui all at once - and therefore, I shall be silent at present. - [italics]ne quid nimis[end italics] [moderation in all things - editor's note] ? as the proverb saith'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book


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