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)....