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Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

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Published by: ivaylo on Jul 14, 2010
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Isaac Newton1
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton
Godfrey Kneller's 1689 portrait of Isaac Newton(aged 46)
Born
4 January 1643[OS: 25 December 1642]
[1]
Woolsthorpe-by-ColsterworthLincolnshire, England
Died
31 March 1727 (aged 84)[OS: 20 March 1726]
[1]
Kensington, Middlesex, England
Residence
England
Fields
physics, mathematics, astronomy, natural philosophy, alchemy, Christian theology
Institutions
University of CambridgeRoyal SocietyRoyal Mint
Alma mater
Trinity College, Cambridge
Academicadvisors
Isaac Barrow
[2]
Benjamin Pulleyn
[3] [4]
Notable students
Roger CotesWilliam Whiston
Known for
Newtonian mechanicsUniversal gravitationInfinitesimal calculusOpticsBinomial seriesNewton's methodPhilosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Influences
Henry More
[5]
Polish Brethren
[6]
Influenced
Nicolas Fatio de DuillierJohn Keill
Signature
 
Isaac Newton2
Notes
His mother was Hannah Ayscough. His half-niece was Catherine Barton.
Sir Isaac Newton
 
FRS
(4 January 1643
 – 
31 March 1727
[OS: 25 December 1642
 – 
20 March 1726]
)
[1]
was an Englishphysicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian who is considered by manyscholars and members of the general public to be one of the most influential people in human history. His 1687publication of the
 Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica
(usually called the
 Principia
) is considered to beamong the most influential books in the history of science, laying the groundwork for most of classical mechanics. Inthis work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion which dominated the scientific viewof the physical universe for the next three centuries. Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler's lawsof planetary motion and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancingthe scientific revolution.Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope
[7]
and developed a theory of colour based on the observation thata prism decomposes white light into the many colours that form the visible spectrum. He also formulated anempirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound.In mathematics, Newton shares the credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of the differential and integralcalculus. He also demonstrated the generalised binomial theorem, developed Newton's method for approximating theroots of a function, and contributed to the study of power series.Newton remains uniquely influential to scientists, as demonstrated by a 2005 survey of members of Britain's RoyalSociety asking who had the greater effect on the history of science and had the greater contribution to humankind,Newton or Albert Einstein. Royal Society scientists deemed Newton to have made the greater overall contribution onboth.
[8]
Newton was also highly religious, though an unorthodox Christian, writing more on Biblical hermeneutics and occultstudies than the natural science for which he is remembered today.
The 100
by astrophysicist Michael H. Hart ranksNewton as the second most influential person in history (below Muhammad and above Jesus).
[9]
Life
Early life
Isaac Newton was bornon4 January 1643
[OS: 25 December 1642][1]
at Woolsthorpe Manor inWoolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire. At the time of Newton's birth, England hadnot adopted the Gregorian calendar and therefore his date of birth was recorded as Christmas Day, 25 December1642. Newton was born three months after the death of his father, a prosperous farmer also named Isaac Newton.Born prematurely, he was a small child; his mother Hannah Ayscough reportedly said that he could have fit inside aquart mug (
1.1 litres). When Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, theReverend Barnabus Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The youngIsaac disliked his stepfather and held some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry ina list of sins committed up to the age of 19: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the houseover them."
[10]
While Newton was once engaged in his late teens to a Miss Storey, he never married and is believedto have been asexual, being highly engrossed in his studies and work.
[11]
 
[12]
 
[13]
 
Isaac Newton3
Newton in a 1702 portrait by Godfrey KnellerIsaac Newton (
 Bolton, Sarah K. Famous Men of Science. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1889
)
From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton waseducated at The King's School, Grantham (where his signature can stillbe seen upon a library window sill). He was removed from school, andby October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth,where his mother, widowed by now for a second time, attempted tomake a farmer of him. He hated farming.
[14]
Henry Stokes, master atthe King's School, persuaded his mother to send him back to school sothat he might complete his education. Motivated partly by a desire forrevenge against a schoolyard bully, he became the top-rankedstudent.
[15]
In June 1661, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge as a sizar
 —
a sort of work-study role.
[16]
At that time, the college's teachingswere based on those of Aristotle, but Newton preferred to read themore advanced ideas of modern philosophers, such as Descartes, andof astronomers such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. In 1665, hediscovered the generalised binomial theorem and began to develop amathematical theory that would later become infinitesimal calculus.Soon after Newton had obtained his degree in August 1665, theuniversity temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague.Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student,
[17]
Newton's private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over thesubsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus,optics and the law of gravitation. In 1667, he returned to Cambridge asa fellow of Trinity.
[18]
Middle years
Mathematics
Newton's mathematical work has been said "to distinctly advanceevery branch of mathematics then studied".
[19]
Newton's work on the subject usually referred to as fluxions or calculusis seen, for example, in a manuscript of October 1666, now publishedamong Newton's mathematical papers.
[20]
A related subject of his mathematical work was infinite series. Newton'smanuscript "De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas" ("On analysis by equations infinite in numberof terms") was sent by Isaac Barrow to John Collins in June 1669: in August 1669 Barrow identified its author toCollins as "Mr Newton, a fellow of our College, and very young ... but of an extraordinary genius and proficiency inthese things".
[21]
Newton later became involved in a dispute with Leibniz over priority in the development of infinitesimal calculus.Most modern historians believe that Newton and Leibniz developed infinitesimal calculus independently, althoughwith very different notations.Occasionally it has been suggested that Newton published almost nothing about it until1693, and did not give a full account until 1704, while Leibniz began publishing a full account of his methods in1684. (Leibniz's notation and "differential Method", nowadays recognised as much more convenient notations, wereadopted by continental European mathematicians, and after 1820 or so, also by British mathematicians.) Such asuggestion, however, fails to notice the content of calculus which critics of Newton's time and modern times havepointed out in Book 1 of Newton's
 Principia
itself (published 1687) and in its forerunner manuscripts, such as De

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