A dusty box of books discarded at the bottom of a cupboard in a school physics laboratory in the UK has turned out to be the prized work of scientist Sir Isaac Newton, containing his thoughts on principles of gravity.
The textbooks, which were unearthed at Newcastle-under-Lyme School, Staffordshire, are more than 300 years old and contain the musings of the man credited with the discovery of gravity.
The discovery, estimated by auctioneers to be worth thousands of pounds, was made by physics student Will Garside working on recording artefacts from around the school site, the Daily Express reported.
“I didn’t realise how special they were at first. It is interesting to see books from such a long time ago and I hope that they will stay with the school,” the 16-year-old student said.
They contain Newton’s Laws of Motion and an account of the principles of gravity spanning more than 1,000 pages.
The set of three volumes is believed to have been the property of the first headmaster, Francis Elliot Kitchener, a keen scientist who was at the school from 1874.
“I don’t think that we will sell them because they are of such historical importance,” Julie Hesketh, the school’s marketing and development manager, said.
“It is so inspirational for our pupils and the school. The find is inherent to our physics department and many of our former students have gone on to be eminent physicists across industry and research,” Hesketh said.
“We are currently researching the books to find out as much as possible about them,” Hesketh said.
The three books are named Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for mathematical principles of natural philosophy and they were first published on July 5, 1687.
Sir Isaac had his work translated into English in 1728 and the mathematician remains one of the world’s most famous scientists.
He was born in 1642 and died in 1727.