Heralding the Way to a New World

Newtonianism for the Ladies (1737)

Newtonianism for the Ladies by Algarotti

Illustration from Algarotti's Newtonianism for the Ladies

Francesco Algarotti (1712-1764) popularized the theories of natural philosopher Sir Isaac Newton with his entertaining text, Il Newtonianismo per le dame, or Newtonianism for the ladies. Written as a light-hearted conversation held over five consecutive days between a marchioness and a chevalier, the book became a bestseller and helped spread Newtonian ideas to the general public in continental Europe. In a time when more scholarly texts were reserved for men, the demand for and success of the book demonstrated to publishers the presence of a female readership for scientific works.


In the exhibition

Francesco Algarotti. Il Newtonianismo per le dame, ovvero, dialoghi sopra la luce e i colori [Newtonianism for the ladies, or dialogues in light and colors]. Venice: Publisher not identified, 1737.


All items in this exhibition are from the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, Rubenstein Library, unless otherwise noted.