Isaac Newton’s First Published Scientific Paper

Hi Readers, do you know what Mr.Newton wrote about in his first published scientific paper? Let’s discover his big idea back to February 19, 1671.

The content of his first paper started with: A letter of Mr.Issac Newton, Mathematics Professor in the University of Cambridge; containing his New Theory about Light and Colors: Where Light is declared to be not Similar or Homogeneal, but consisting of difform rays, some of which are more refrangible than others: And Colors are affirmed to be not qualifications of Light, derived from Refractions of natural Bodies, (as ’tis generally believed;) but Original and Connate Properties, which in divers rays are divers: Where several Observations and Experiments are alledged to prove the said Theory.

Issac Newton - Phenomena of Colours
Issac Newton’s Phenomena of ColoursImage Credit: The Royal Society


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This paper was proudly published by The Royal Society – world’s oldest scientific publisher. The good news is, The Royal Society has its world-famous historical journal archive – which includes the first ever peer-reviewed scientific journal – has been made permanently free to access online. Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton’s first published scientific paper, geological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin’s celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment.  And nestling amongst these illustrious papers, readers willing to delve a little deeper into the archive may find some undiscovered gems from the dawn of the scientific revolution – including accounts of monstrous calves, grisly tales of students being struck by lightning, and early experiments on to how to cool drinks “without the Help of Snow, Ice, Haile, Wind or Niter, and That at Any Time of the Year.”

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