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The influential and innovative thinkers, scientists, poets and writers below have all had work published by us, and they are representative of many thousands more whose ideas, discoveries and learning have reached the public in the form of a Cambridge book.
The first printer formally appointed by the University of Cambridge, Master Thomas Thomas, was responsible for compiling a religious work, Two Treatises of the Lord, His Holie Supper, in 1584. He followed this with editions including Plato's Menexenus – the first Greek text to be printed in Cambridge and the first of any work by Plato in the original to emerge from an English press. However, it was his Latin Dictionary which was to make Thomas famous in his own time and for more than a century afterwards.
In the 1620s and 30s, Cambridge was considered a nursery of poets, chief among them being John Milton who published his famous elegy, Lycidas, with us in 1638. The Cambridge University library has a copy with corrections in Milton's own hand.
We rescued Newton's groundbreaking Principia Mathematica from obscurity in 1713 by publishing a second edition – a version considered much more accurate than the first (published in London and soon out of print). It contained Newton's latest thinking on ideas that shook the very world they explained – gravity, the movement of the planets and the laws of motion.
James Clerk Maxwell
Maxwell belonged to the 'golden age' of classical physics and contributed to many of its great discoveries. His most significant achievement was the development of electromagnetic theory. His discoveries laid the foundation of modern physics, particularly in fields such as special relativity and quantum mechanics. We published his scientific papers in 1890.
The great historian, John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, led the way in developing one of our most distinctive contributions to publishing, the Cambridge Modern History. The 12-volume series was published between 1902 and 1912 and established a genre of collaborative scholarly reference uniquely associated with the Press. Many of the hundreds of Cambridge Histories published throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are also now available online.
In 1904, we published Radio-activity by Ernest Rutherford, launching the era of nuclear physics. Rutherford would go on to become known as the father of this discipline. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908, his work led to the first splitting of the atom. He coined terms for the most basic principles of the field including gamma rays, neutrons and protons.
Philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, religious sceptic, social reformer and socialist, Bertrand Russell was one of the founders of analytic philosophy. His monumental work Principia Mathematica (co-authored with A N Whitehead and published by us in three volumes between 1910 and 1913) grounded mathematics in logic and went on to have a profound influence on the fields of philosophy and linguistics.
One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Noam Chomsky has radically challenged both the political and linguistic orthodoxies of the world we live in. The most cited writer in the humanities, Chomsky's Cambridge publications include the groundbreaking Language and Mind; New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind; On Nature and Language and Cartesian Linguistics.
The ideas of world-renowned theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, have transformed our understanding of space and time, black holes, and the origin of the universe. We have published influential works by Hawking including The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time and his contributions to The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind, edited by Roger Penrose.
Raymond Murphy has written the two most successful ELT grammar titles in the history of modern English language teaching. English Grammar in Use, now in its third edition, was first published by the Press in 1985 and Essential Grammar in Use in 1990. The success of these books lies in Murphy's ability to explain grammar in a uniquely clear and practical way. His books have given millions of students the tools they need to tackle English grammar head-on.
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Ten great Cambridge authors - printable version PDF (1.5MB)