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.
On display in the Michael and Karen Stone Family Gallery
January 20 – May 20, 2016
Rubenstein Library, Duke University
Durham, North Carolina