Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician and physicist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time. He developed the principles of classical mechanics and explained the laws of motion and gravity. In addition, he also made significant contributions to optics and mathematics.
This biography provides a brief account of Newton’s life and achievements.
Newton was born on December 25, 1642, in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lincolnshire. His father had died three months before his birth, so Newton was raised by his mother.
He attended grammar school in Grantham and then enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1661. While at university, he studied mathematics and physics, and he became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1672.
Newton’s most famous work is Principia Mathematica, which was published in 1687. This book laid the foundations for classical mechanics and explained the laws of motion and gravity.
Principia Mathematica contains Newton’s three laws of motion, which are still widely used today.
Newton’s three laws of motion are:
- An object in motion stays in motion until it is acted on by an outside force
- For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction
- The acceleration of an object is proportional to the force applied divided by the mass of the object.
In addition, Newton developed calculus, which is a branch of mathematics that deals with different rates of change.
Newton was also interested in optics and he designed the reflecting telescope. This telescope uses a curved mirror to reflect light into an eyepiece, allowing for a much larger magnification than traditional telescopes.
In 1703, Queen Anne knighted Newton and he became known as Sir Isaac Newton. In 1704, Newton was appointed Master of the Mint, and he spent several years working on improvements to British coinage. He also served as president of the Royal Society from 1703 to 1727.
Newton died on March 20, 1727, at age 84. He was buried in Westminster Abbey and a monument was erected in his honor.
Newton’s laws of motion and gravity are still used today to explain the movement of objects in space. Thanks to his brilliant mind and groundbreaking discoveries, Sir Isaac Newton is rightly considered one of the most important scientists who ever lived.
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