John Winthrop

(1714—1779) scientist

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(1714–1779), American astronomer and mathematician. John Winthrop IV was born in Boston to Adam Winthrop, a judge, and Anne Wainwright Winthrop. A precocious youth, in 1728 he entered Harvard College, where he was strongly attracted to scientific and religious ideas of the Enlightenment. Influential in shaping Winthrop's intellectual interests were Isaac Greenwood's lectures on “experimental philosophy,” Cotton Mather's scientific survey Christian Philosopher (1726), and Nathaniel Appleton's sermons. Winthrop's meticulous entries from classical and Enlightenment authors in his freshman “commonplace book” reveal his studious and inquiring mind. While mastering Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, he also absorbed Isaac Newton's complex religious and scientific concepts when he obtained a rare copy of the Principia.


From Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).

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