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Sir Isaac Newton Biography

Updated on August 10, 2014
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Melvin is an avid reader and a retired chemist after working for a major pharmaceutical company for 32 years.

1643 - 1727

Sir Isaac Newton is considered one of the most popular and influential scientist in the history of science and mathematics today. He was born prematurely in Woolsthrope-by-Colsterworth Lincolnshire, England the same year the famous astronomer Galileo died. Information about his early years in school does not mention anything about his propensity toward becoming a great scientist later. Isaac Newton did construct ingenious playthings such as miniature mills, clocks and sundials while he was in grammar school. He left Grantham Grammar School in 1661 for Cambridge University at the head of his class. Believe it or not his mother, now twice divorced, tried to convince Isaac to become a farmer just before he left for Cambridge.

Godfrey Kneller's 1689 portrait of Isaac Newton (aged 46)
Godfrey Kneller's 1689 portrait of Isaac Newton (aged 46)

Higher Education

While at Cambridge, Isaac Newton was influenced by the lectures held by Isaac Barrow, who had worked on methods of calculating areas and finding tangents to curves. By a stroke of luck Newton landed in the right place at the right time. Those two problems Barrow was working on lead Newton to pursue the development of the two fundamental principles of calculus, now called integral and differential calculus.

Another set of events changed the direction of Newton's life, the "Black Plague" caused a suspension of his courses for two years. He was forced to return home and continued his studies on his own in solitude. His achievements later showed Newton was at his best when he was left alone. He eventually returned to Cambridge to complete his studies for his Master's degree.

Achievements During Solitude

Isaac Newton made several significant accomplishments in the fields of science and math during his solitude. These are the main ones:

  • Calculus
  • Universal law of gravitation
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Theory of Optics

Newton rarely made his findings public, because he was suspicious and defensive that someone else may receive recognition before he was reading to make his findings public. He almost lost his recognition over the creation of calculus with his clash with Leibniz, another famous mathematician. They both arrived with the same ideas for calculus independently, and an English committee ultimately award the claim to Newton.

Major Publications

Newton completed Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica in 18 months. This was a major accomplishment for him. It was first published in Latin in 1687, when Newton was 45. This book established him as the leading scientist of his time, not only in England but in the entire Western world.

Newton's second book, Principia demonstrated for the first time that celestial bodies follow the laws of dynamics. The law of universal gravitation, used by earlier scientists to solve problems concerning motion is still used by scientists today.

Newton published another book Opticks in his later years. It was essentially an account of experiments performed by him and his conclusions drawn from them.

One of Newton.s major publications
One of Newton.s major publications

Books on Isaac Newton

Later Life

Newton became a representative in Parliament (1689-90, 1701-2) for his university and in 1703 he became president of the Royal Society until his death. He was made warden of the mint in 1696 and master in 1699. He was knighted in 1705 in recognition of his services at the mint. Although Newton was known as an open and generous person, at various times in his life he became involved in quarrels and controversies. The most well known controversy was his dispute with Leibniz over which of them had first invented calculus; today they are both honored for their work.

Newton died in his sleep in London on March 31, 1726 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.


Newton's Tomb in London
Newton's Tomb in London

© 2009 Melvin Porter

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      deepika 

      5 years ago

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    • profile image

      shah rukh khan 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the information,u r great.

    • profile image

      pallavi 

      6 years ago

      i am a follower of of aii the world

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      anurag baundwl 

      6 years ago

      great information

    • profile image

      Abraham 

      6 years ago

      I know i will be greater than him is just a matter of time

    • profile image

      marls 

      6 years ago

      I love isaac he is awesome brody

    • profile image

      kELz 

      6 years ago

      I worship the dude!

    • profile image

      nainaanand 

      6 years ago

      great information, thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      awesomedude 

      6 years ago

      thanks

    • profile image

      aashi 

      6 years ago

      knowledgeable site

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      jeremytorres 

      6 years ago

      Informative hub. Thanks.

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      k.vivek 

      7 years ago

      no comment

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      suraj negi 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for information.

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