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Isaac Newton

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Portrait of Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton by Godfrey Kneller

Isaac Newton is considered one of the most important scientists in history. Even Albert Einstein said that Isaac Newton was the smartest person that ever lived. During his lifetime Newton developed the theory of gravity, the laws of motion (which became the basis for physics), a new type of mathematics called calculus, and made breakthroughs in the area of optics such as the reflecting telescope.

Early Life

Isaac Newton was born in Woolsthorpe, England on January 4, 1643. His father, a farmer who was also named Isaac Newton, had died three months before his birth. His mother remarried when Isaac was three years old and left young Isaac in the care of his grandparents.

Isaac attended school where he was an adequate student. At one point his mother tried to take him out of school so he could help on the farm, but Isaac had no interest in becoming a farmer and was soon back at school.

Isaac grew up mostly alone. For the rest of his life he would prefer to work and live alone focused on his writing and his studies.

College and Career

In 1661, Isaac began to attend college at Cambridge. He would spend much of his life at Cambridge, becoming a professor of mathematics and a fellow of the Royal Society (a group of scientists in England). He eventually was elected to represent Cambridge University as a member of parliament.

Isaac had to leave Cambridge from 1665 to 1667 because of the Great Plague. He spent these two years in study and isolation at his home in Woolsthorpe developing his theories on calculus, gravity, and the laws of motion.

In 1696 Newton became the warden of the Royal Mint in London. He took his duties seriously and tried to get rid of corruption as well as to reform the currency of England. He was elected President of the Royal Society in 1703 and was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705.

The Principia

In 1687 Newton published his most important work called the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (which means "Mathematical principals of Natural Philosophy"). In this work he described the three laws of motion as well as the law of universal gravity. This work would go down as one of the most important works in the history of science. It not only introduced the theory of gravity, but defined the principals of modern physics.
Cover of Newton's Pincipia

Scientific Discoveries

Isaac Newton made many scientific discoveries and inventions throughout his career. Here is a list of some of the most important and famous ones. Legacy

Newton died on March 31, 1727 in London, England. Today, he is considered one of the most influential scientists of all time alongside greats such as Albert Einstein, Aristotle, and Galileo.

Interesting Facts about Isaac Newton Back to Biographies >> Inventors and Scientists

Other Inventors and Scientists:
Alexander Graham Bell
Rachel Carson
George Washington Carver
Francis Crick and James Watson
Marie Curie
Leonardo da Vinci
Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein
Henry Ford
Ben Franklin
Robert Fulton
Jane Goodall
Johannes Gutenberg
Stephen Hawking
Antoine Lavoisier
James Naismith
Isaac Newton
Louis Pasteur
The Wright Brothers

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