Sir Isaac Newton PRS MP (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, who has been considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. His monograph Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, laid the foundations for most of classical mechanics. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. Newton showed that the motion of objects on Earth and that of celestial bodies is governed by the same set of natural laws: by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler's laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation he removed the last doubts about heliocentrism and advanced the scientific revolution. The Principia is generally considered to be one of the most important scientific books ever written, both due to the specific physical laws the work successfully described, and for its style, which assisted in setting standards for scientific publication down to the present time. Newton 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 that form the visible spectrum. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound. In mathematics, Newton shares the credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of differential and integral calculus. He generalized the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed Newton's method for approximating theroots of a function, and contributed to the study of power series. Although an unorthodox Christian, Newton was deeply religious and his occult studies took up a substantial part of his life. He secretly rejected Trinitarianism and refused holy orders. Contents [Hide] 1 Life1.1 Early life1.2 Middle years1.2.1 Mathematics1.2.2 Optics1.2.3 Mechanics and gravitation1.3 Classification of cubics1.4 Later life1.5 After death1.5.1 Fame1.5.2 Commemorations1.6 In popular culture2 Personal life3 Religious views3.1 Effect on religious thought3.2 End of the world4 Enlightenment philosophers5 Counterfeiters6 Laws of motion7 Apple incident8 Writings9 See also10 References11 Bibliography12 Further reading13 External links| Life
Main article: Early life of Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton was born (according to the Julian calendar in use in England at the time) on Christmas Day, 25 December 1642, (NS 4 January 1643.) at Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire. He 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 a quart mug (≈ 1.1 litres). When Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabus Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The young Isaac disliked his stepfather and maintained some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them." Although it was claimed that he was once engaged, Newton never married.
Newton in a 1702 portrait by Godfrey Kneller
Isaac 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 was educated at The King's School, Grantham. He was removed from school, and by October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, where his mother, widowed by now for a second time, attempted to make a farmer of him. He hated farming. Henry Stokes, master at the King's School, persuaded his mother to...