Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton was a mathematician and physicist, and he was one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time. He was born at Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, where he attended school. He entered Cambridge university in1661. During 2 to 3 years of intense mental effort, he prepared Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica commonly known as the Principia, although it was not published until 1687. Newton became the most highly esteemed natural philosopher in Europe. His last decades were passed in revising his major works, polishing his studies of ancient history, and defending himself against critics, as well as carrying out his official duties.

Newton was modest, diffident, and a man of simple tastes. He was angered by criticism or opposition, and harbored resentment; he was harsh towards enemies, but generous towards friends. Newton has been regarded for almost 300 years as the founding exemplar of modern physical science, his achievements in experimental investigation being as innovative as those in mathematical research. He also studied chemistry, the early history of Western civilization, and theology. Newton discovered measurable, mathematic patterns in the phenomenon of color.

Newton found white light to be a mixture of infinitely varied colored rays. Newton correlated this notion with he study of the interference colors of thin films (for example, of oil on water, or soap bubbles), using a simple technique of extreme acuity to measure the thickness of such films. He held that light consisted of streams of minute particles. From his experiments he could infer the magnitudes of the transparent “corpuscles” forming the surfaces of bodies, which according to their dimensions, so interacted with white light as to reflect, selectively, the different observed colors of those surfaces.

Newton made contributions to all branches of mathematics then studied, but is especially famous for his...

Similar Essays