Einstein is the only figure in the physical sciences with a stature that can be compared with Newton. Newton is reported to have said “If I have seen further than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” This remark is even more true of Einstein who stood on the shoulders of Newton. Both Newton and Einstein put forward a theory of mechanics and a theory of gravity but Einstein was able to base General Relativity on the mathematical theory of curved spaces that had been constructed by Riemann while Newton had to develop his own mathematical machinery. It is therefore appropriate to acclaim Newton as the greatest figure in mathematical physics and the Principia is his greatest achievement.

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— | Stephen Hawking (via crookedindifference) |