- 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.
Watch a short biography of Isaac Newton, a key figure in the scientific revolution who is most famous for formulating laws of gravity.
A look at the later years of Sir Newton's life.
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In 1705, he was knighted by Queen Anne of England. At this point in his life, Newton's career in science and discovery had given way to a career of political power and influence.
Newton never seemed to understand the notion of science as a cooperative venture, and his ambition and fierce defense of his own discoveries continued to lead him from one conflict to another with other scientists. By most accounts,
Newton's tenure at the society was tyrannical and autocratic; he was able to control the lives and careers of younger scientists with absolute power.
In 1705, in a controversy that had been brewing for several years, German mathematician Gottfried Liebniz publically accused Newton of plagiarizing his research, claiming he had discovered infinitesimal calculus several years before the publication of Principia. In 1712, the Royal Society appointed a committee to investigate the matter. Of course, with Newton as president, he was able to appoint the committee members and oversee its investigation. Not surprisingly, the committee concluded Newton's priority over the discovery.
That same year, in another of Newton's more flagrant episodes of tyranny, he published without permission the notes of astronomer John Flamsteed. It seems the astronomer had collected a massive body of data from his years at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England. Newton had requested a large volume of Flamsteed's notes for his revisions to Principia. Annoyed when Flamsteed wouldn't provide him more information as quickly as he wanted it, Newton used his influence as president of the Royal Society to be named the chairman of the body of "visitors" responsible for the Royal Observatory.
He then tried to force the immediate publication of Flamsteed's catalogue of the stars, as well as all of Flamsteed's notes, edited and unedited. To add insult to injury, Newton arranged for Flamsteed's mortal enemy, Edmund Halley, to prepare the notes for press. Flamsteed was finally able to get a court order forcing Newton to cease his plans for publication and return the notes—one of the few times that Newton was bested by one of his rivals.
Toward the end of this life, Newton lived at Cranbury Park, near Winchester, England, with his niece, Catherine (Bancroft) Conduitt, and her husband, John Conduitt. By this time, Newton had become one of the most famous men in Europe. His scientific discoveries were uchallenged. He also had become wealthy, investing his sizeable income wisely and bestowing sizeable gifts to charity. Despite his fame, Newton's life was far from perfect: He never married or made many friends, and in his later years, a combination of pride, insecurity and side-trips on peculiar scientific inquiries led even some of his few friends to worry about his mental stability.
By the time he reached 80 years of age, Newton was experiencing digestion problems, and had to drastically change his diet and mobility. Then, in March 1727, Newton experienced severe pain in his abdomen and blacked out, never to regain consciousness.
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