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    Re: Newton and Halley
    From: Ken Gebhart
    Date: 2007 Nov 22, 13:18 -0600

    Just for the record, (Cdr) Bruce Bauer died a year or two ago, so I'm
    sure he won't mind being quoted.
    On Nov 22, 2007, at 12:31 AM, Scott Owen wrote:
    > Michael Daly wrote:
    >>> That applies only to Mike's special interpretation of the
    >>> instrument, and to
    >>> the Royal Society engraving. To an open mind things are
    >>> different, with our
    >>> new understanding of how Newton's note can be read..
    >> I have an open mind, however, I'm not gullible. I'll accept anything
    >> that can be reasonably proved.  I've seen no such proof.
    >> You are continually referring to some mythical Newtonian
    >> instrument that
    >> you never describe and is completely undocumented.  Provide a
    >> reliable
    >> source or drop the fantasy.
    >> Mike
    > Mike,
    > I freely admit my knowledge of this subject as limited to what I have
    > read in CDR Bauer's book, "The Sextant Handbook" of which I hope the
    > good CDR does not mind me quoting rather liberally.  As to whether or
    > not he is a reliable source I leave that to your opinion. IMHO he
    > seems
    > to treat this subject fairly and objectively on pp 25-35.  So here
    > goes.
    > Page 25, CDR Bauer says:
    > "In 1699 Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) conceived the principle of
    > measuring angles by double reflection and made an instrument that
    > would
    > do so."
    > Does this mean that Newton actually produced a working prototype or
    > just
    > a drawing?  I suggest that it doesn't matter, the drawing is as
    > good as
    > the prototype.  However, I DO believe Newton made a working
    > prototype of
    > the double reflecting instrument see below.
    > Page 26, CDR Bauer says:
    > "On 9 August 1699, the celebrated Newton, the Einstein of his age,
    > personally appeared before the Royal Society to reveal a new principle
    > of optics to this group whose purpose was to receive, evaluate and
    > disseminate scientific knowledge. He read and submitted a paper on an
    > instrument made on the principle.  From the Journal book of the Royal
    > Society (minutes of the meeting), set down in a bold and flowing
    > script:
    >       Mr Newton shewed a new instrument contrived by him for observing
    >       the moon and starrs, the longitude at Sea, being the old
    > instrument
    >       mended of some faults with which notwithstanding Mr. Hally (sic)
    >       had found the longitude better than the Seaman by other methods.
    > The minutes were referring to Edmund Halley (1656-1742), later the
    > secretary of the Royal Society, who applied Newtons concepts to
    > predict
    > the comet that bears his name.  In 1699 Halley had recently returned
    > from a voyage to Brazil, during which he evaluated an instrument
    > designed by Dr. Robert Hooke, a rival of Newton.  Hooke's instrument
    > used a mirror, but did not incorporate the double reflecting
    > principle.
    >   It did not work very well.
    > This Royal Society Journal book entry constituted a clear record of
    > what
    > in current patent office terminology would be called disclosure of
    > a new
    > invention.  That someone was listening attentively is demonstrated by
    > the insertion of a comment in the minutes of the next meeting -- 25
    > October 1699 -- by Dr. Hooke that:
    >      ...the instrument mentioned last meeting was of his [Hooke's]
    >         invention before the year 1665 and that the use and fabric of
    >         it was declared in the History of the Royal Society.
    > He disputed the originality of Newton's concept or model or both.  We
    > cannot tell which."
    > So now we have Sir Isaac Newton and Dr. Hooke (rivals) saying they
    > each
    > invented the double reflecting principle and an instrument to measure
    > such.  Newton in 1699 and Hooke sometime before 1665.  Again according
    > to Bauer, John Hadley in 1731 presented yet another paper to the Royal
    > Society on the double reflecting principle and TWO prototypes.  It was
    > one of these prototypes that went into commercial production shortly
    > thereafter.  Further, at the same time as Hadley, Thomas Godfrey (an
    > American and close associate of Ben Franklin) also laid claim to
    > developing the double reflecting instrument.  Ultimately, the Royal
    > Society settled the Godfrey/Hadley dispute by saying it was
    > "simultaneous and independent invention".  Both of these
    > instruments use
    > the double reflecting principle but look sufficiently different.  And
    > actually these instruments were octants not sextants.  So there you
    > have
    > it, abbreviated sextant history according to CDR Bauer.  There is much
    > more in the book and I can highly recommend it.
    > --Scott
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