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Isaac Newton notebook
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Pulling you in.

A first-edition copy of one of the most important texts in physics is expected to sell for over $1 million

Thu-Huong Ha
By Thu-Huong Ha


A rare copy of Isaac Newton’s seminal work in physics and astronomy is on the move.

Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, or Newton’s Principia, will be auctioned off in New York on Dec. 14. Christie’s expects the copy will go for $1-1.5 million, the most valuable item in the sale of 400 books and manuscripts.

In his 1687 treatise, Newton laid out his three laws of motion, the same ones we all learn in high school physics. He also crucially presented his theory of gravity—that the forces that keep the planets in orbit and our feet on the ground are the same, and not separate.

Though parts of Principia were later complicated by Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum physics, it remains one of the most important works of physical sciences ever written.

Christie’s, citing American Book Prices Current, says that a copy of Principia given to King James II went for $2.5 million in 2013.

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