Born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, England, Isaac Newton was an established physicist and mathematician, and is credited as one of the great minds of the 17th century Scientific Revolution. With discoveries in optics, motion and mathematics, Newton developed the principles of modern physics. In 1687, he published his most acclaimed work Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy which has been called the single most influential book on physics. Newton died in London on March 31, 1727.
As a professor, Newton was exempted from tutoring but required to deliver an annual course of lectures. He chose to deliver his work on optics as his initial topic. Part of Newton's study of optics was aided with the use of a reflecting telescope that he designed and constructed in 1668—his first major public scientific achievement. This invention helped prove his theory of light and color. The Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope in 1671, and the organization's interest encouraged Newton to publish his notes on light, optics and color in 1672; these notes were later published as part of Newton's Opticks: Or, A treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light.
While he’s best known for his work on gravity, Newton was a tinkerer, too, but more with ideas than physical inventions. He did invent reflecting lenses for telescopes, which produced clearer images in a smaller telescope compared with the refracting models of the time. In his later years, he developed anticounterfeiting measures for coins, including the ridges you see on quarters today. Among his biggest “inventions” was calculus. Yes, that’s right. Mere math and algebra wasn’t enough to explain the ideas in his head, so he helped invent calculus (German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz is typically credited with developing it independently at about the same time). ...
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