The new scholarly paradigm of Isaac Newton evidences the integral linkage of Newton's "chemical philosophy" and his "natural philosophy" (i.e. physics). It is widely recognized that Newton thought chemistry held the solution to "the active cause of gravity" (which the Principia did not provide). Many scholars would argue that Newton's pre-Principia researches into the "active principles" of chemical philosophy had a formative influence on the concept of gravitational force expressed in his natural philosophy — a concept of "attraction" which, in turn, subsequently appears to have framed his post-Principia conclusions about chemical philosophy. The scientific fruit of this mutual intercourse of fields is most prominently evident in Newton's "De natura acidorum," where we observe "the transition from the alchemical concept of active principle to the Newtonian concept of attraction expressed in his own words."
Newton spent some 30 years in the research of chemistry and was highly guarded about his studies throughout his lifetime. Indeed his sole lifetime published work in the field, "De natura acidorum" (printed in Harris' Lexicon Technicum), was perhaps published without his official permission. It is only in recent decades that scholars have had access to Newton's chemical manuscripts and have begun their formal study.
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