UNESCO Preserves the Works of One of the Greatest Minds in Human History

This polymath's papers—full of personal and scientific revelations—have joined the World Register.

A stamp printed in Laos from the "Space Exploration " issue shows Isaac Newton and Lunokhod 2, circa 1984.

The UNESCO International Memory of the World Register has recently added another batch of genius to its collection of documents: the papers, diaries, books, and notes of Sir Isaac Newton, thereby helping to preserve for all time the works of one of the greatest minds in human history.

Wait, who added what?

The UNESCO Memory of the World Program is a programmed dedicated to the preservation of and access to the documentary heritage of the world. The program has existed since 1992 and has discovered, preserved, and exhibited countess documents of vital importance to the heritage of mankind since then, including the papers of Winston Churchill, the telegram Austria-Hungary sent to declare war on Serbia, and The Wizard of Oz.

So, why add Newton’s stuff?

Isaac Newton discovered and formulated the law of gravity, the classical laws of motion, the nature of color and optics, and invented calculus in his spare time. He invented the reflecting telescope, determined why the planets don’t move in perfect circles, and he later went on to invent the little indentations around the side of coins when he was the master of the mint for Great Britain. His contributions to science are nearly impossible to overstate.

And don’t take my word for it; Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains here why Newton is the greatest physicist of all time.

Keep reading Show less

Do Our Senses Reveal the World—Or Do They Obscure It?

Our brains didn't evolve to see the world accurately, we only perceive what is useful and apply meaning to it. Neuroscientist Beau Lotto shows us how the sausage of reality is made.

We know the world exists, we just don’t know what it actually looks like—and it's likely that we never will, says neuroscientist Beau Lotto. Humans can only access reality, whatever it may be, through the filter of our sensory organs, which interpret "inherently meaningless" data in ways that are useful for our survival. We don't see the world as it is, we see the world that helps us to live. It can be a concept that's hard to wrap your mind around: how is that chair not as I see it? What color is an apple, really? Lotto calls on two clarifying examples: "Dressgate", which blew people's minds in 2015 and exposed that perception is not objective, and the color spectrum, of which we only see a small slice of. Beau Lotto is the author of Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently.

Keep reading Show less

Are Yellow or Blue Taxis Safer? Scientists Crunch the Data

If you want to get from A to B more safely, be a little more choosy at the cab rank. 

Photo: Getty Images

If you’ve taken to the United States streets anytime lately, you may have noticed that most public school buses are a very particular shade of yellow. That shade is called National School Bus Glossy Yellow in Canada and the US, and it was specially designed by Dr. Frank Cyr. He was in charge of developing standards for the school bus. While there was no standard prior to this, many wanted something eye-catching so that every driver knew what vehicles hosted dozens of children on their way to learn. So, in 1939, after a long-awaited conference, they chose yellow.

Keep reading Show less

Language Controls What Colors You Can and Can't See, or Does It?

Not every language agrees on how many colors there are. With some having more terms and others fewer. But does that mean we see the world differently?

How many colors are there, or rather; how many can you see?

Keep reading Show less