Isaac Newton by James GleickIsaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral—an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names—mass, gravity, velocity—things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo’s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation.
James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of his generation, brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion. Ideas so basic to the twenty-first century we literally take them for granted.
Newton also made seminal contributions to optics , and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus. In Principia , Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to prove Kepler's laws of planetary motion , account for tides , the trajectories of comets , the precession of the equinoxes and other phenomena, eradicating doubt about the Solar System 's heliocentricity. He demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's inference that the Earth is an oblate spheroid was later confirmed by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis , La Condamine , and others, convincing most European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over earlier systems. Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum.
Sir Isaac Newton contributed significantly to the field of science over his lifetime. He invented calculus and provided a clear understanding of optics. But his most significant work had to do with forces, and specifically with the development of a universal law of gravity. Born to a poor family in Woolsthorpe, England, in , Isaac Newton attended Trinity College in Cambridge, England only after it became apparent that he would never be a successful farmer. While there, he took interest in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy. After his graduation, he began to teach at the college, and was appointed as the second Lucasian Chair there.
Isaac Newton changed the way we understand the Universe. Revered in his own lifetime, he discovered the laws of gravity and motion and invented calculus. He helped to shape our rational world view. His private life was far from rational — consumed by petty jealousies, bitter rivalries and a ruthless quest for reputation. Newton was born prematurely on Christmas morning, in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire. He was a tiny baby, given little chance of survival. The country he was born into was chaotic and turbulent.
Isaac Newton , in full Sir Isaac Newton , born December 25, [January 4, , New Style], Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire , England—died March 20 [March 31], , London , English physicist and mathematician, who was the culminating figure of the scientific revolution of the 17th century. In optics , his discovery of the composition of white light integrated the phenomena of colours into the science of light and laid the foundation for modern physical optics.
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Born in in Woolsthorpe, England, Sir Isaac Newton began developing his influential theories on light, calculus and celestial mechanics while on break from Cambridge University. The son of a farmer, who died three months before he was born, Newton spent most of his early years with his maternal grandmother after his mother remarried. When the Great Plague shuttered Cambridge in , Newton returned home and began formulating his theories on calculus, light and color, his farm the setting for the supposed falling apple that inspired his work on gravity. Newton returned to Cambridge in and was elected a minor fellow. Asked to give a demonstration of his telescope to the Royal Society of London in , he was elected to the Royal Society the following year and published his notes on optics for his peers.
Isaac Newton was a physicist and mathematician who developed the principles of modern physics, including the laws of motion and is credited as one of the great minds of the 17th-century Scientific Revolution. In , he published his most acclaimed work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy , which has been called the single most influential book on physics. Newton was born on January 4, , in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. Using the "old" Julian calendar, Newton's birth date is sometimes displayed as December 25, Newton was the only son of a prosperous local farmer, also named Isaac, who died three months before he was born. A premature baby born tiny and weak, Newton was not expected to survive.
The posthumous son of an illiterate yeoman also named Isaac , the fatherless infant was small enough at birth to fit 'into a quartpot. Much has been made of Newton's posthumous birth, his prolonged separation from his mother, and his unrivaled hatred of his stepfather. Until Hanna returned to Woolsthorpe in after the death of her second husband, Newton was denied his mother's attention, a possible clue to his complex character. Newton's childhood was anything but happy, and throughout his life he verged on emotional collapse, occasionally falling into violent and vindictive attacks against friend and foe alike. W ith his mother's return to Woolsthorpe in , Newton was taken from school to fulfill his birthright as a farmer.