Thursday, November 15, 2012

Keynes and Newton paper should come out in March 2013 Notes and Records of the Royal Society

Just resubmitted it. The editor personally emailed me about it to say how much he enjoyed it, and also to make sure it was in in time to be published in the Spring. Nice not to have it sitting in limbo! I don't know why, but he said that it should go particularly well in that issue, which he thinks is a "strong one".

A pleasant experience all around, and a great history of science journal. This is the current issue for those that are interested.


  1. Congratulations, Daniel Kuehn! I look forward to it being published!

  2. Could you summarize the Keynes-Newton connection?

    1. Certainly -
      In 1936 Lord Lymington fell into some financial troubles and auctioned off - among other things - a large collection of manuscripts and books from Newton's library that had been passed down (he was related). Keynes bought many of the lots and worked to collect others from various sellers after 1936 - particularly sources that related to Newton's work in alchemy. That was (predictably) under-emphasized by historians and unknown to a lot of the general public, but Keynes was fascinated by it.

      A lot of the Newton manuscripts historians have today came from those efforts by Keynes to hunt them down and bring them to Trinity College.

      That is fairly well known. What is also well known is that Keynes wrote a lecture that was delivered by his brother in 1946 to celebrate Newton's tercentenary, and that lecture was one of the first bold attempts to bring attention to Newton's work in alchemy and his intuitive (rather than purely rationalist) approach to science.

      Those two things get a lot of coverage.

      What is not discussed is a lot of the promotional work Keynes did between 1936 and 1946.

      My paper focuses on work he did in 1942 and 1943. He delivered two lectures over this period (to a select audience at the Royal Society and a select audience at Trinity) which formed the basis of his more widely known 1946 lecture (the lecture to the Royal Society was so obscure it didn't even appear on the program of the event - he was a last minute addition and a lot of the news reports didn't even mention him, presumably because he was not on the program). He also worked with the Royal Society in some contact they had with the Russian Academy of Sciences regarding the Newton Tercentenary, and he worked with the Royal Society to secure the donation of a large set of Newton's books to Trinity.

      So I basically try to fill out this picture of Keynes as a Newton promoter beyond the two bookend events that most people know about. I'm using a lot of Keynes's correspondences that have only recently been digitized and from what I can tell nobody has used for published research yet.


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