Did Isaac Newton Use Other Scientists' Ideas to Help Him?


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According to the ScienceNow website, Isaac Newton collaborated with Robert Hooke to develop Newton's ideas of gravitation. Hooke accused Newton of misappropriating Hooke's ideas for Newton's own benefit.

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ScienceNow writes that Hooke wrote to Newton in 1679 to seek Newton's help developing theories about planetary motion. Hooke's own research had determined the primary physical principles of planetary motion in space, but he had difficulty in calculating orbital motion within a central field of force. Hooke wrote to Newton regarding the problem, and then Newton made this discovery a cornerstone of his landmark Principia treatise.

Newton did not appreciate the accusations Hooke made about ideas being misappropriated and later took his revenge. Isaac Newton eventually became the president of the Royal Society. The society maintained an archive of scientific findings, but Newton ensured that none of Hooke's thousands of instruments, models or collected fossils survived. While not necessarily directly Newton's fault, some of Newton's supporters destroyed the only known portrait of Hooke after the man had died. Between the actions of Newton and his supporters, Hooke's findings have been obscured for over 300 years. It is only recently that he has come out of obscurity and been properly appreciated by the world of science.

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