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Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643. He was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. His father, also Isaac Newton, was a farmer. Unfortunately, Isaac Newton’s father died before he was born. Isaac Newton’s father could not read or write. Three years later, Hannah Ayscough, Isaac Newton’s mother, married a churchman. Newton didn’t like his mother’s new husband and went to live with his grandmother. As a teenager, he even threatened to burn their house down. When Newton was 12 years old, he attended The King’s School, Grantham. He was taught the classics, not science or mathematics. When Newton turned 17, his mother took him out of school so that he could become a farmer like his father.
Soon after this, Newton found that he wasn’t good at being a farmer and he didn’t want to become a farmer. HIs mother allowed him to return back to school. Newton finished as a top student. When Isaac Newton was 18 years old, he began to study for a law degree at Cambridge University Trinity College. He earned money as a personal servant to wealthier students. By his third year in college, Newton was studying a lot of mathematics and physics. He was also very interested in pseudoscience.
Newton began to disregard the ideas taught to him in his classes because his physics lectures based their teachings on Aristotle’s incorrect ideas from Ancient Greece. He preferred to study the more scientifically correct ideas of Galileo, Boyle, Descartes, and Kepler. While reading and studying the scientists mentioned above, Newtons grew more ambitious about making his own discoveries. He started to write notes to himself that asked questions that had not yet been answered by science, such as, questions about gravity, the nature of light, the nature of color and vision, and atoms. After his third year at Cambridge, he won a four-year scholarship during which he devoted his time fully to his academic studies. Newton’s first discovery was made during the second year of his four year scholarship.
In mathematics, he discovered the generalized binomial theorem. In the same year, he was also awarded his B. A. degree. Newton went back home to Woolsthorpe after the Great Plague forced Cambridge to close. When Newton turned 24, he returned to Cambridge. He was elected as a fellow of Trinity College. Fellows were people in a wide variety of studies and were responsible for keeping the college as a place of education, learning, and research. A year after this, Newton was awarded an M.A. degree. When Newton was 26, Isaac Barrow, a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College, resigned. He suggested that Newton should be the one to succeeding him. Newton was appointed as Barrow’s replacement. Barrow said, “Mr. Newton, a fellow of our College, and very young, being but the second year master of arts; but an extraordinary genius and proficiency.”. Isaac Newton had many discoveries in his lifetime. He showed that sunlight is made up of all the colors of the rainbow. He did this by using one glass prism to split a beam of sunlight into its different colors. He then used another prism to recombine the colors to make of beam of light again.
Newton discovered calculus or the mathematics of change. His development was influenced by the work of Pierre de Fermat, who showed specific examples in which calculus-like methods could be used. Newton came up with the ideas of differential calculus, integral calculus, and differential equations. Without calculus, we couldn’t understand the behavior of objects such as electrons and have modern physics and physical chemistry. Biology and economics also rely heavily on calculus for analysis. He also discovered the law of universal gravitation. This proved that the force holding the moon in orbit around the earth was the same force that causes apples to fall from trees: gravity. Newton came up with the equation that allows us to calculate the force of gravity between two objects. This equation is: F= G m1m2/r2. Isaac Newton also formulated his three laws of motion. Newton’s first law of motion is if the net force of an object is zero, the motion of the object doesn’t change. Newton’s second law of motion is the acceleration of an object is equal to the net force acting on the object divided by the object’s mass.
Newton’s third law of motion is when one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts an equal force in the opposite direction of the first object. Other discoveries included when Newton showed that Kepler’s laws of planetary motion are special cases of Newton’s universal gravitation. Newton also proved that all objects moving through space under the influence of gravity must follow a path shaped in the form of one the conic sections, explaining the path that all the planets and comets follow. Newton showed that the tides are caused by gravitational interaction between the earth, moon, and sun. Newton predicted that the earth isn’t a perfect sphere, but rather is squashed into an oblate sphere (larger around the equator and smaller around the poles). Isaac Newton wrote a book called Principia.
In it, he explains gravity and motion using mathematics. At first, only a few people could understand the Principia when it was first published. Slowly Newton’ s ideas were spread by the few that understood what he wrote. Isaac Newton died on March 31, 1727. He was 84. Isaac Newton never got married and never had any children. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, London. Some of Newton’s ideas were accepted sooner than others. Since he was so smart, other people couldn’t understand what he had discovered. This made it so that some other people and scientists didn’t accept his ideas right away but realized he was correct when he or others explained it.
Isaac Newton’s discovered have changed the world in many ways. Without his discoveries, other academic disciplines wouldn’t be possible to study or understand. HIs discoveries allow us to understand more about how our world works and how we move on a daily basis. Without his discoveries, we would have a lot of unanswered questions.
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