Facts about Isaac Newton

newtonSir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) English scientist who explained the Law of Gravity and the Laws of Motion. Newton was a polymath who made studies in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy. His Principia Mathematica, (1687) laid the foundations for classical mechanics.

  • Newton was born January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, England, United Kingdom
  • He died March 31, 1727, in London, England, United Kingdom
  • Newton actually studied for a degree in law.
  • The young Isaac was enrolled in King’s School in Grantham, a town in Lincolnshire
  • King’s School, Grantham in Lincolnshire still has his signature inscribed on the walls.)
  • Grantham was the birthplace of Mrs Thatcher
  • Newton’s mother wanted Isaac to become a farmer, but Isaac had no interest in farming exams and failed!
  • He owned more books on historical subjects than on science.
  • Isaac Newton suffered two nervous breakdowns.
  • He remained single throughout his life. After from a brief flirtation in his teenage years, he was too absorbed in his studies for romance.
  • Newton was notorious for his bad temper and conflicts with other people. In particular Hooke and Leibniz.
  • Between 1665 and 1667 the University of Cambridge was dispersed due to the Plague and Newton returned to Woolsthorpe Manor.
  • Isaac Newton became known in the scientific community through his refractive telescope – a big improvement on existing telescopes.
  • Isaac Newton disliked to hear any criticism and he became embroiled in a bitter row with Robert Hooke, an original member of the Royal Academy.
  • After the death of his mother in 1678, Newton entered six years of intellectual seclusion where he only communicated with the briefest notes.
  • It is claimed Newton’s discovered the theory of gravity after watching an apple fall in the orchard.
  • Throughout his life, Newton continued research into a wide range of subjects including mathematics, optics, astronomy and alchemy.
  • Newton wrote prolifically on alchemy, believing a key goal was the Philosopher’s Stone (a substance which would turn base metals into gold. Many of his writing were kept quiet as some alchemy practices were punishable by death.
  • Newton was interested in the new wave of philosophy becoming known in the Western world. He became an acquaintance of the political philosopher John Locke.
  • He was elected as Member of Parliament for the University in 1700, but only held this post for a year.
  • Newton himself would tell the story of an apple falling from a tree giving him inspiration for his work on gravity. However, there is no evidence he was actually hit by an apple!
  • Newton’s book – Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), has been called the single most influential book on physics
  • In 1696, Newton was appointed warden of the Royal Mint. He took his duties very seriously, seeking to prevent corruption.
  • As master of the Mint, Newton moved the British currency, from the silver to the gold standard.
  • Newton was fascinated with religion, though didn’t hold Christian orthodox views. He wrote an article on textual criticism of the Bible.
  • Newton was interested in the sacred geometry of Solomon’s Temple. He noted that the temple’s measurements had a divine symmetry and were symbolic of man’s relationship to the earth.
  • Newton was ‘accused’ of being a Rosicrucian – a mystical sect who were deeply religious, anti-catholic and interested in aspects of alchemy. Newton shared many sympathies with the Rosicrucians though didn’t publically claim membership.
  • One of Newton’s most famous quotes was:
    • “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
  • English poet Alexander Pope wrote the following epithet for Newton.
    “Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night;
    God said “Let Newton be” and all was light.”
  • Newton died in 1727, at the age of 85

Isaac Newton

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Isaac Newton at Amazon

Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

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Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World at Amazon

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