200 more copies of Newton’s ‘Principia’ masterpiece found in Europe by scholar sleuths

A pioneering book of science theory published by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687 was long considered to be exceptionally rare; by the 20th century, only 189 first edition copies were known worldwide. But after years of sleuthing, a pair of historians tracked down nearly 200 additional copies of the book — and they suspect that hundreds more are yet to be found.

The book is Newton’s “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica,” also known as the “Principia.” Written in Latin, the book outlines Newton’s three laws of motion, which are still a cornerstone of modern physics, and explain how gravitational forces shape planetary orbits. First edition copies are so prized that in 2016 one sold at auction for $3.7 million, the highest price ever paid for a printed scientific book, Live Science previously reported.

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