- NAME: Isaac Newton
- OCCUPATION: Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, Physicist
- BIRTH DATE: January 04, 1643
- DEATH DATE: March 31, 1727
- EDUCATION: The King's School, University of Cambridge, Trinity College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Sir Isaac Newton
- AKA: Isaac Newton
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English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton, most famous for his law of gravitation, was instrumental in the scientific revolution of the 17th century.
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Watch a short biography of Isaac Newton, a key figure in the scientific revolution who is most famous for formulating laws of gravity.
Sir Isaac Newton's scientific genius defined the laws of gravity, but his personal life was lonely and unhappy.
A look at the later years of Sir Newton's life.
A look at how Isaac Newton's research influences the way we look at the world today.
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It was during this time that Newton kept a second set of notes, entitled "Quaestiones Quaedam Philosophicae" ("Certain Philosophical Questions"). The "Quaestiones" reveal that Newton had discovered the new conception of nature that provided the framework for the Scientific Revolution.
Though Newton graduated with no honors or distinctions, his efforts won him the title of scholar and four years of financial support for future education. Unfortunately, in 1665,
the Great Plague that was ravaging Europe had come to Cambridge, forcing the university to close. Newton returned home to pursue his private study. It was during this 18-month hiatus that he conceived the method of infinitesimal calculus, set foundations for his theory of light and color, and gained significant insight into the laws of planetary motion -- insights that eventually led to the publication of his Principia in 1687. Legend has it that, at this time, Newton experienced his famous inspiration of gravity with the falling apple.
With the threat of plague subsided in 1667, Newton returned to Cambridge and was elected a minor fellow at Trinity College, still not considered a standout scholar. However, in the ensuing years, his fortune improved. Newton received his Master of Arts degree in 1669, before he was 27. During this time, he came across Nicholas Mercator's published book on methods for dealing with infinite series. Newton quickly wrote a treatise, De Analysi, expounding his own wider ranging results. He shared this with friend and mentor Isaac Barrow, but didn't include his name as author.
In June 1669, Barrow shared the unaccredited manuscript with British mathematician John Collins. In August 1669, Barrow indentified its author to Collins as "Mr. Newton ... a very young ... but of an extraordinary genius and proficiency in these things." Newton's work was brought to the attention of the mathematics community for the first time. Shortly afterward, Barrow resigned his Lucasian Professorship at Cambridge, and Newton assumed the chair.
As professor, Newton was exempted from tutoring but required to deliver an annual course of lectures. He chose to deliver his work on optics as his initial topic. Part of Newton's study of optics was aided with the use of a reflecting telescope that he designed and constructed in 1668 -- his first major public scientific achievement. This invention helped prove his theory of light and color. The Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope in 1671, and the organization's interest encouraged Newton to publish his notes on light, optics and color in 1672; these notes were later published as part of Newton's Opticks: Or, A treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light.
However, not everyone at the Royal Academy was enthusiastic about Newton's discoveries in optics. Among some of the dissenters was Robert Hooke, one of the original members of the Royal Academy and a scientist who was accomplished in a number of areas, including mechanics and optics.
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