Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Cotes, Roger

  • Stephen D. SnobelenEmail author
Reference work entry

BornBurbage, Leicestershire, England, 10 July 1682

DiedCambridge, England, 5 June 1716

Roger Cotes was the editor of the second edition of  Isaac Newton’s Principia. An innovative educator and popularizer, he brought astronomy, experimental philosophy, and Newtonian physics to half a generation of Cambridge undergraduates. After his early death, Newton said of him “Had Cotes lived we might have known something.”

The second son of Reverend Robert Cotes, rector of Burbage, and Grace, daughter of Major Farmer of Barwell, Cotes was sent to Leicester School. His mathematical ability induced his uncle, Reverend John Smith, to direct his education in his home. He later attended Saint Paul’s School in London. Cotes matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1699, taking his BA in 1702 and his MA in 1706. It is likely that he attended the astronomical lectures of the Newtonian Lucasian Professor William Whiston and possibly the first of Whiston’s lectures on Newton’s Principia(1704)....

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Selected References

  1. Dubbey, J. M. (1971). “Cotes, Roger.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 3, pp. 430–433. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Gowing, Ronald (1983). Roger Cotes - Natural Philosopher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hall, A. Rupert and Laura Tilling (eds.) (1975–1976). The Correspondence of Isaac Newton. Vols. 5–6. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of King’s CollegeHalifaxCanada