Sir Isaac Newton's books emerge at Newcastle-under-Lyme School
DUSTY old books found by a school student have been discovered to be the work of the fabled scientist Sir Isaac Newton.
The textbooks, unearthed at Newcastle-under-Lyme School, are more than 300 years old and contain the musings of the man credited with the 'discovery' of gravity.
Now auctioneers have estimated the books could be worth thousands of pounds, and the school is working to carefully analyse their contents.
They were discovered while students were cataloguing 130 years' worth of educational artefacts from around the school site.
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Lower sixth pupil Will Garside, from Newcastle, who is studying Physics, was working on the project during an open morning when he stumbled across the books.
The 16-year-old said: "I didn't realise how special they were at first.
"It is quite amazing to think of how much they must be worth.
"It is interesting to see books from such a long time ago and hope that they will stay with the school."
The books contain Newton's seminal Laws of Motion, and an account of the principles of gravity spanning more than 1,000 pages.
They detailed mathematical arguments form a body of work which unlocked some of the mysteries of nature.
The volumes are believed to have been the property of the school's first headmaster, Francis Elliot Kitchener who was at the school from 1874.
The set of three books were found in a dusty 1950's box in the physics laboratory.
Julie Hesketh, the school's marketing and development manager, said: "I don't think that we will sell them because they are of such historical importance. It is so inspirational for our pupils and the school.
"The find is inherent to our physics department. A lot of former students have gone on to be eminent physicians.
"We are currently researching the books to find out as much as possible about them."
Ian Cartwright, director of external relations at the school, said: "It's an amazing find.
"We've uncovered so many fascinating things during this archive project but the books are really something special."
The books are named Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which is Latin for 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy'. Comprising three books, it was first published on July 5, 1687.
Book one, called 'De motu corporum' means 'On the motion of bodies,' and concerns 'motion in the absence of any resisting medium'.
Book two carries on from book one, and book three, 'On the system of the world', deals with observations about the movement of planets and their moons.
Sir Isaac had his work translated into English in 1728.
The mathematician remains one of the world's most famous scientists, and was a leading academic within the subjects of astronomy, natural philosophy, alchemy and theology.
He was born in 1642 and died in 1727.