January 4, 1643 - March 31, 1727
Isaac Newton is known for discovering the three laws of motion.by Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
“If I have seen further [than others] it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton, 1675
Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most famous physicists in all history. In fact, in a 2005 poll of the Royal Society, Newton was determined to have had a greater effect on the history of science than Albert Einstein. Legrange, a French mathematician, said “Newton was the greatest genius that ever existed.” Most people know of this man’s contributions science, and even that he revolutionized it for all time, but few know of his involvement in promoting Christianity.
Newton was born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, England, during the English Civil War. He attended The King’s School in Grantham, England, from the ages of twelve until seventeen and again after he was 18. Between these two periods was a short stint during which Newton’s mother tried to convince him to become a farmer. He became engaged to a young woman named Katherine Storer, but this engagement was later cancelled and Newton remained unmarried his entire life. At 19, Newton began to attend Trinity College in Cambridge. The college was closed very soon after he received his degree in 1665 in precaution of the Black Plague, which killed some twenty million people throughout Europe. For the rest of his life, Newton dedicated his time to discovering new areas of mathematics, optics, mechanics, and gravitation. Unbeknownst to many, Newton was also a strong Christian and devoted many of his later years to writing religious works on the literal interpretation of the Bible. He also became Master of the Mint in 1669, and his actions in that position (including changing the Pound Sterling from the silver standard to the gold standard) earned him knighthood in 1705, rather than his earlier contributions to the scientific world. Newton died on March 31, 1727 at the age of 84 and was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.
Newton is accredited with many famous inventions. His Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica explained the three Laws of Motion, the basis for modern engineering, as well as Universal Gravitation. He concluded that every body in the universe attracts every other body based on their distance and mass. He also developed a theory on color from observing light passing through a prism and separating into color. He invented the reflecting telescope, which surpassed the common refracting telescope of his day because it cured the problem of the dispersion of light into colors by utilizing a wider lens. And he discovered the Law of Cooling, which states that the “surface temperature of an object changes at a rate proportional to its relative temperature.” – In other words, the temperature of an object can be related to its surrounding temperatures. Moreover, Newton explained the principles of conservation of angular momentum, an extremely important concept in our universe. These principles state that “Objects executing motion around a point possess a quantity called angular momentum. This is an important physical quantity because all experimental evidence indicates that angular momentum is rigorously conserved in our Universe: it can be transferred, but it cannot be created or destroyed.” Newton also demonstrated the generalized binomial theorem for finding the zeroes of functions, which is used exceedingly frequently in higher mathematics today. Newton also shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for formulating a type of mathematics called fluxions, today called calculus.
An interesting fact about Newton is that the popular fable of discovering gravity when an apple fell on his head is not true. One year after graduating from Cambridge, he visited his mother in Lincolnshire. While there, he observed an apple falling from a tree, which in turn forced his thoughts to how the apple fell and if the power that made the apple fall extended beyond what was normally thought. He especially was interested to know whether it was the same force that held the moon in orbit. As a result, he began calculations to discover such a force, and eventually wrote a law on Universal Gravitation, although scientists today are still puzzled by the mystery of gravity.
While Newton’s scientific discoveries revolutionized the world, his impact on Christianity was also significant. Newton studied the Bible and the church fathers extensively, and in fact wrote more on religion than on science. In particular, he wrote some 4500 words on the Book of David. Newton and Chemist Robert Boyle worked together to disprove Deism and pre-Enlightenment superstition using mathematical proofs and scientific experiments. Having two famous scientists publicly supporting and promoting it boosted Christianity’s popularity.
Sir Isaac Newton was a very influential scientist who changed the world
of science forever; he was also a strong Christian and a man who used
his God-given love and talent for science to renew Christianity. In his
own words: “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it
cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and
knows all that is or can be done."
-Tiher, John Hudson. Isaac Newton. Milford, Michigan: Mott Media, 1975.
-“Isaac Newton”. Available from: Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton> (accessed December 5, 2007).
-“Robert Boyle”. Available from: Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boyle> (accessed December 5, 2007).
-“Newton’s Law of Cooling”. Available from: S.O.S. Math http://www.sosmath.com/diffeq/first/application/newton/newton.html (accessed December 5, 2007)
-“Conservation of Angular Momentum”. < http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/solarsys/angmom.html> (accessed December 5, 2007)
-“Shoulders of Giants”. Available from: Anecdotage.com http://anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=12440
Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643 in Woolsthorpe, England. Born
with him was the next step f scientific discovery.
Isaac Newton is known for discovering the three laws of motion, but he also solved what was left to be discovered of the mysteries of optics (light). He and a German mathematician, Leibniz, invented the branch of math known as calculus. Newton, in reality invented it first but was a afraid of ridicule so he did not publish his findings. When Leibniz with almost exactly the same methods as Newton's, Isaac published a book and scientists realized their error in giving Leibniz full credit for inventing calculus. In combining both methods Sir Newton came up with calculus.
In 1661 he went to Trinity College at Cambridge University. Isaac graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1665. After almost a two-year absence for fear of a plague that was spreading in the area he came back and got his master's degree in 1668. A year later he received the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge.
When Newton published an article on optics and explained the idea of light being a prism of colors he was ridiculed and criticized, bringing back his earlier fears of publication. When he wrote another article explaining his ideas in more detail he was commended for it.
Newton studies in solitude for many years after he was criticized for his article on optics until an English astronomer and mathematician, Edmund Halley, visited him and discussed gravity in the universe. This intrigued and inspired Newton and he returned to his studies. Two years later ho discovered the three laws of motion and therefore solved some problems of gravity. He published a book on this in 1687 and was never left alone long enough to o back to his solitary studies. Robert Hooke charged Sir Isaac with plagiarism but the public did not accept the charges.
In 1693 Isaac became very ill with an emotional disorder. He recovered but that was the end of his career as a scientist. Later Newton was elected president of the Royal Society in London. Upon receiving this position he ordered that John Flamsteed's publication on his observations of astronomy be published. However, it was not for the sake of Flamsteed. Isaac needed it to support his lunar theories. Needless to say, Newton and Flamsteed had a little encounter shortly after the book was published. Flamsteed died before they could resolve their quarrel. That was not the only under-handed thing Sir Isaac did. He also framed Leibniz for plagiarism by secretly writing the report when the topic was investigated. That case carried out almost until his death in 1727.
Newton also had an interest in alchemy, mysticism, and mythology. When scientists studied his notes they found many pages devoted to these topics. Maybe they were only of personal interests or perhaps a master discovery in disguise that was never uncovered, but no matter what it was there were no traces of it in any of his many achievements.
Newton was a genius inventor, scientist, and mathematician but he wasn't necessarily very honest about it. Nevertheless, he contributed a great deal to the world of science and mathematics, and for his accomplishments the world can never thank him enough.