GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: OG2

Elements of the Philosophy of Newton, published by Voltaire in 1738, was an early attempt to popularize the scientific ideas of Isaac Newton. In the book's frontispiece, Voltaire is seen writing at his desk, and over him a shaft of light from heaven, the light of truth, passes through Newton to Voltaire's collaborator Madame du Ch?telet; she reflects that light onto the inspired Voltaire. Voltaire's book commanded a wide audience, according to Feingold, because "he was neither a mathematician nor a physicist, but a literary giant aloof from the academic disputes over Newtonian ideas." In other words, Voltaire's amateurism in science "was a source of his contemporary appeal, demonstrating for the first time the accessibility of Newton's ideas to nonspecialists."

Question List: 1 2

Which of the following statements about Voltaire's Elements of the Philosophy of Newton can be inferred from the passage?

  • A Voltaire's literary stature helped secure a large audience for this attempt to popularize Newton's ideas.
  • B Voltaire's status as a nonscientist was an advantage in this effort to bring Newtonian science to the attention of the general public.
  • C The frontispiece of the book implies that Voltaire's understanding of Newton's ideas was not achieved without assistance.

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