The volume contains a draft letter from Rizzetti to Christino Martinelli, c.1720, with a description of Newton's experiment leading to the discovery of the aberration of light, and Rizzetti's experiment contradicting Newton's results; and two diagrams on refraction (p.13), the 'Anatomical composition of the eye' and the 'Aberration in telescopes with different lenses'. There are references to Descartes, Huygens and Tschirnhaus.
Giovanni Rizzetti: Challenge to Newton's Optical Experiments
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 12 MS.Add.9282
- Dates of Creationc.1720
- Name of Creator
- Physical Description1 volume
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Giovanni Rizzetti (1675-1751), Italian scientist, was a fierce critic of Sir Isaac Newton's optical theories. While the French edition of Newton's Opticks was in preparation, Rizzetti challenged some of Newton's experiments, his interpretation of them, and his theory of colours. Rizzetti repeated his challenge in a letter to Christino [sic] Martinelli. Newton suspected that an opponent, Antonio Schinella Conti had instigated Rizzetti's challenge.
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Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.
Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.
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Additional Manuscripts Summary Catalogue.
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Newton's copy of Rizzetti's letter is at King's College, Cambridge (Keynes MS 103).
Excerpts from the letter were published in Acta Eruditorum (1726), De luminis affectionibus (Treviso, 1727), and Saggio dell' antineutonianismo sopra le leggi del moto e dei colori (Venice, 1741).