Sir Isaac Newton was a mathematician, physicist, theologian, astronomer, alchemist, and a natural philosopher. Isaac Newton was born on 4th January, 1643 in Woolsthorpe Manor and was named after his father who died 3 months before his birth. Few years later, his mother remarried. Newton had to stay with his grandmother since he was 3. He studied in The King's School Grantham till 17. In June, 1661, Newton was admitted to the Trinity College, Cambridge.
In those days, Aristotle's teachings were taught in college. However, Newton wasn't much interested in studying them. The advanced scientific concepts and ideas proposed by astronomers like Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler drew his attention and kept him interested. He also took interest in theories proposed by Descartes. Newton's personality was multifaceted. It is reflected in the fact that he was interested in studying subjects like mathematics, mechanics, religion and alchemy. Here are some interesting facts on Isaac Newton's life and his works.
Facts about Sir Isaac Newton
The facts presented below provide useful information on his works in the field of physics.
- Isaac Newton graduated in 1665. He formulated the generalized binomial theorem in the same year. The law of universal gravitation by him is considered a milestone in the study of the physical universe.
- Newton had presented lectures on the subject of optics between 1670 and 1672. In the meantime he studied the phenomenon of refraction of light and demonstrated how white light decomposes into a color spectrum.
- Newton's books on theory of gravitation and laws of motion (Principia) were published between 1686 and 1687.
- Sir Isaac Newton used to refer to the Bible to gather information for his research. Based on his study of the Bible, he conducted research and documented his work through manuscripts. One of his manuscripts has a reference to the end of the world in 2060.
- Some of the theories proposed by Newton were criticized by Robert Hooke, the curator of experiments at the Royal Society. Outraged by this criticism, Newton refrained from participating in public debates on matters related to research.
- The relationship between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke was not a cordial one. However, Robert Hooke played an important role in challenging Newton's theories and in the process, putting forth some fundamental questions pertaining to planetary motion. The interaction with Robert Hooke motivated Newton to study the phenomenon of gravitation to its depths.
- Newton and his supporters had accused Gottfried Leibniz, a German mathematician, of plagiarizing Newton's theories and ideas associated with the research of calculus. The Royal Society investigated the matter and declared Newton's works as original.
- The famous French writer Voltaire popularized the story of Newton getting inspired by the event of an apple falling from a tree and propagating the theory of gravitation.
Interesting Facts on Isaac Newton's Life
- The birthdate of Sir Isaac Newton was earlier recorded as 25th December, 1642. It was recorded so because, at the time, the Gregorian calendar was not adopted in England.
- Newton was born prematurely, about 11-15 weeks early.
- He went to The King's School where he studied till October, 1659. His mother persuaded him to look after their farm. However, farming didn't interest young Isaac; he was sent back to The King's School to complete his education.
- The Newton's cradle is a device which incorporates swinging spheres in the design. The design of this device is based on the law of conservation of momentum. The law of conservation of momentum was derived from Newton's second law of motion. Although Newton's cradle was named after Newton, he did not invent the device.
Inventions and Theories by Newton
Here is some useful information on the inventions by Isaac Newton.
- Developing the infinitesimal calculus was one of the important research activities conducted by Newton.
- In 1668, Newton designed the reflective telescope and many other instruments. The reflective telescope was formed of a concave-shaped primary mirror and a secondary mirror - flat-diagonal in shape.
- In his study of the phenomenon of refraction of light, Newton demonstrated that white light decomposes into a color spectrum as it passes through a prism. In Newton's times, there was a general perception about prisms.It was said that they could modify rays of light; however, Newton had successfully demonstrated that a prism merely separates/decomposes a ray of light into a color spectrum.
- Newton was of the view that light is composed of particles. Scientists like Huygens believed that waves formed light.
- The color theory propagated by Newton was known as Newton's color theory. As per the color theory, objects do not exhibit their own colors. They tend to display certain specific colors as a result of interaction with an already-colored light.
Newton's works on alchemy had received lesser public attention than his other studies. The Royal Society didn't find his alchemical works suitable for publishing. However, the works proved to be important from the point of inspiring Newton to delve into few other topics of scientific research. One of the important reasons why Newton's alchemical experiments did not receive much attention is because they were apparently fruitless and did not invent or discover anything concrete or substantial. In Newton's times, the difference between scientific research and alchemy was obscure. This might be one of the reasons why he, at first, took interest in alchemy and later on abandoned the whole exercise.
Newton's works helped discover some of the fundamentals principles of physics. The facts on Isaac Newton presented in the write-up gives a rough idea of the works of this genius astronomer, mathematician and philosopher.