From: Hofmann, Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Sep 28 2003 - 12:20:02 EDT
I would recommend Comets, Popular Culture, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology, by Sara J. Schechner (1997, Princeton University Press).
Cal State Fullerton
From: Loren Haarsma [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tue 9/23/2003 11:47 AM
To: _American Sci Affil
Subject: Reference needed for "Newton's comets"
I recall reading that when Isaac Newton calculated the orbits of the
planets, he believed that they would become unstable after a few hundred
or thousand years due to mutual gravitational attraction; that Newton
proposed that God occasionally sent comets through the solar system with
just the right mass and trajectories to correct these instabilities; and
that LaPlace eventually showed that planetary orbits were stable for much
longer periods of time.
Does someone know of a published reference for this? All I can find so
far is page 91 of Colin A. Russell's "Cross-currents: Interactions Between
Science and Faith" (InterVarsity Press), and that doesn't give
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