The Top Idea in Your Mind

by Scott Smith

Linus and his students at Liege were among the more tenacious critics. Newton’s biographer Westfall seems to feel he was overreacting:

Recall that at the time he wrote, Newton’s “slavery” consisted of five replies to Liege, totalling fourteen printed pages, over the course of a year.

I’m more sympathetic to Newton. The problem was not the 14 pages, but the pain of having this stupid controversy constantly reintroduced as the top idea in a mind that wanted so eagerly to think about other things.