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Italy. The mid-eighteenth century. A ragtag band of adventurers - a physicist, the Pope, and his secretary - set out to reform science.

Sources:

Did Isaac Newton believe in ghosts? No he did not https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227260712_Lust_Pride_and_Ambition_Isaac_Newton_and_the_Devil "Lust, Pride, and Ambition: Isaac Newton and the Devil" by Stephen Snobelen

Did he believe the Earth was alive though? Yes he did https://www.academia.edu/1842210/Isaac_Newtons_Magical_Enlightenment "The Magical Enlightenment of Isaac Newton" by Simon Werrett

various sources on Laura Bassi:

  • "Science as a Career in Enlightenment Italy: The Strategies of Laura Bassi"Author(s): Paula FindlenSource: Isis, Vol. 84, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 441-469 "The Desire to Contribute: An Eighteenth-Century Italian Woman of Science"Author(s): Gabriella Berti LoganSource: The American Historical Review, Vol. 99, No. 3 (Jun., 1994), pp. 785-812 "Laura Bassi and Science in the 18th Century," lecture by Monique Frize
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZajUg18dbs 

info on Maria Dalle Donne, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, and Laura Bassi, and the general petitioning of Benedict XIV: 

  • "Women and the Practice and Teaching of Medicine in Bologna in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries"Author(s): GABRIELLA BERTI LOGANSource: Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. 77, No. 3 (Fall 2003), pp. 506-535

more on Newton and Descartes:

  • quote about hypotheses from 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newtonianism (which says it's from the footnotes of the second edition of Newton's Principia) "The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments" by George Johnson (book), Chapter 3: "Isaac Newton: What a Color Is"

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