Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

Portrait of Newton at 46 by Godfrey Kneller, 1689
Born(1643-01-04)4 January 1643 [O.S. 25 December 1642][a]
Died31 March 1727(1727-03-31) (aged 84) [O.S. 20 March 1726][a]
Resting placeWestminster Abbey
EducationTrinity College, Cambridge (M.A., 1668)[5]
Known for
Scientific career
Academic advisors
Notable students
Member of Parliament
for the University of Cambridge
In office
Preceded byRobert Brady
Succeeded byEdward Finch
In office
Preceded byAnthony Hammond
Succeeded byArthur Annesley, 5th Earl of Anglesey
12th President of the Royal Society
In office
Preceded byJohn Somers
Succeeded byHans Sloane
Master of the Mint
In office
1696–1699Warden of the Mint
Preceded byThomas Neale
Succeeded byJohn Conduitt
2nd Lucasian Professor of Mathematics
In office
Preceded byIsaac Barrow
Succeeded byWilliam Whiston
Personal details
Political partyWhig

Sir Isaac Newton FRS (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27)[a] was an English polymath active as a mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author who was described in his time as a natural philosopher.[7] He was a key figure in the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment that followed. His pioneering book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), first published in 1687, consolidated many previous results and established classical mechanics.[8][9] Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing infinitesimal calculus, though he developed calculus years before Leibniz.[10][11] He is considered one of the greatest and most influential scientists in history.[12][13][14][15][7]

In the Principia, Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint for centuries until it was superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to derive Kepler's laws of planetary motion, account for tides, the trajectories of comets, the precession of the equinoxes and other phenomena, eradicating doubt about the Solar System's heliocentricity.[16] He demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's inference that the Earth is an oblate spheroid was later confirmed by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis, La Condamine, and others, convincing most European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over earlier systems.

Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. His work on light was collected in his highly influential book Opticks, published in 1704. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling, made the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed a method for approximating the roots of a function, and classified most of the cubic plane curves.

Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian who privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. He refused to take holy orders in the Church of England, unlike most members of the Cambridge faculty of the day. Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of alchemy and biblical chronology, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. Politically and personally tied to the Whig party, Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge, in 1689–1690 and 1701–1702. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden (1696–1699) and Master (1699–1727) of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society (1703–1727).

  1. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015.
  2. ^ Feingold, Mordechai. Barrow, Isaac (1630–1677) Archived 29 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, May 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2009; explained further in Feingold, Mordechai (1993). "Newton, Leibniz, and Barrow Too: An Attempt at a Reinterpretation". Isis. 84 (2): 310–338. Bibcode:1993Isis...84..310F. doi:10.1086/356464. JSTOR 236236. S2CID 144019197.
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Scientific Biography". Notes, No. 4. Archived from the original on 25 February 2005.
  4. ^ Gjertsen 1986, p. [page needed]
  5. ^ Kevin C. Knox, Richard Noakes (eds.), From Newton to Hawking: A History of Cambridge University's Lucasian Professors of Mathematics, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 61.
  6. ^ Thony, Christie (2015). "Calendrical confusion or just when did Newton die?". The Renaissance Mathematicus. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b Alex, Berezow (4 February 2022). "Who was the smartest person in the world?". Big Think. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  8. ^ Whiteside, D. T. (1991). "The Prehistory of the 'Principia' from 1664 to 1686". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London. 45 (1): 11–61. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1991.0002. ISSN 0035-9149. JSTOR 531520. S2CID 145338571.
  9. ^ Gandt, F. D. (2014). Force and Geometry in Newton's Principia. Princeton University Press. pp. ix–xii. ISBN 978-1-4008-6412-6.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference :2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference :3 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Simmons, John (1997). The Scientific 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Scientists, Past and Present. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8065-1749-0.
  13. ^ Tyson, Peter (15 November 2005). "Newton's Legacy". Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  14. ^ "Newton beats Einstein in polls of scientists and the public". 23 November 2005. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  15. ^ "Isaac Newton". New Scientist. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  16. ^ More, Louis Trenchard (1934). Isaac Newton, a Biography. Dover Publications. p. 327.

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