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Siddhesh Joshi

Biography of Isaac Newton


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Born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, England, Isaac Newton was an established physicist and mathematician, and is credited as one of the great minds of the 17th century Scientific Revolution.

With discoveries in optics, motion and mathematics, Newton developed the principles of modern physics.

In 1687, 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 died in London on March 31, 1727.

Newtons Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which dominated scientists view of the physical universe for the next three centuries.

Newton also built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the many colours of the visible spectrum.

A video documentary on Isaac Newton


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Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian and, unusually for a member of the Cambridge faculty of the day, he refused to take holy orders in the Church of England, perhaps because he privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.

Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of biblical chronology and alchemy, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death.

In his later life, Newton became president of the Royal Society. He also served the British government as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint.

Life & Character

Isaac Newton was born prematurely on Christmas day 1642 (4 January 1643, New Style) in Woolsthorpe, a hamlet near Grantham in Lincolnshire.

When he was barely three years old Newtons mother, Hanna (Ayscough), placed her first born with his grandmother in order to remarry and raise a second family with Barnabas Smith, a wealthy rector from nearby North Witham.

Much has been made of Newtons posthumous birth, his prolonged separation from his mother, and his unrivaled hatred of his stepfather.

Until Hanna returned to Woolsthorpe in 1653 after the death of her second husband, Newton was denied his mothers attention, a possible clue to his complex character. Newtons 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.

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Newtons Apple

Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree. Although it has been said that the apple story is a myth and that he did not arrive at his theory of gravity in any single moment, acquaintances of Newton such as William Stukeley, whose manuscript account of 1752 has been made available by the Royal Society do in fact confirm the incident, though not the cartoon version that the apple actually hit Newtons head. Stukeley recorded in his Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newtons Life a conversation with Newton in Kensington on 15 April 1726.

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Newtons Works

De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas (1669, published 1711)
Method of Fluxions (1671)
Of Natures Obvious Laws & Processes in Vegetation (unpublished, c. 1671–75)[151]
De motu corporum in gyrum (1684)
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687)
Opticks (1704)
Reports as Master of the Mint (1701–25)
Arithmetica Universalis (1707)
The System of the World, Optical Lectures, The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms, (Amended) and De mundi systemate (published posthumously in 1728)
Observations on Daniel and The Apocalypse of St. John (1733)
Newton, Isaac (1991). Robinson, Arthur B., ed. Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John. Cave Junction, Oregon: Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. ISBN 0-942487-02-8. (A facsimile edition of the 1733 work.)
An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture (1754)

Newtons Inventions

He discovered gravitational force and established the three Universal Laws of Motion. By tying these discoveries to the work Johannes Kepler and his Laws of Planetary motion, he established classic mechanics the beginning of modern Physics.

Calculus gave scientist the tools to set up a theoretical model of a situation and still account for varying factors. This basic knowledge would help scientist such as Einstein to be able make even greater discoveries such as the Theory of Relativity and Nuclear Fission.

He is also famous for finding out that white light is composed of many colors.

In his last days He was obsessed with Alchemy as well.

A video on secret life of Isaac Newton


Newton died in his sleep in London on 20 March 1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Voltaire was present at his funeral and praised the British for honoring a scientist of heretical religious beliefs with burial there.

A bachelor, he had divested much of his estate to relatives during his last years, and died intestate. After his death, Newtons hair was examined and found to contain mercury, probably resulting from his alchemical pursuits.

Mercury poisoning could explain Newtons eccentricity in late life



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