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    Re: On lunar distances
    From: Steven Wepster
    Date: 2002 Feb 6, 16:12 +0100

    Dov wrote:
    >It is said that the great triumph of 19th  century science (really begun
    >by Newton) was showing that the world was governed by  linear equations,
    >and the great triumph of 20th century science was proving that it wasn't
    >;-)  It's no wonder that Newton didn't like the problem of lunar
    >distances, as there is no neat analytic linear equation that you can
    >solve to get the answer....
    My comment:
    I think that Newton _did_ like the lunar distances; at least, he saw this
    _and_ the timekeeper method as the most likely and promising routes to
    solving the longitude problem. What made his head ache was the theory of
    the moon's motion. Eventually Newton produced a lunar theory that had
    geometrical (not analytical) origins and that was probably based on an
    earlier theory by Jeremiah Horrocks. In Newton's time the solving of
    differential equations was in its infancy and generaaly I think it is not
    fair or sensible to suggest that Newton's work is in the spirit of the 19th
    Steven Wepster                          wepster{at}math.uu.nl
                                            tel +31 30 253 1186
    Mathematisch Instituut
    Universiteit Utrecht
    PO Box 80.010
    3508 TA Utrecht
    The Netherlands

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