Isaac Newton


Isaac Newton Essay, Research Paper

Isaac Newton, (also known as Sir Isaac Newton), is known as a great scientist by many people. He was born on December 25 in the year 1642 in Woolsthorpe, England. His father died before he was born and left his family without much money. Isaacs mother soon remarried and had three more children. His mother expected him to manage the farm, but he really didn’t care for that much and instead was sent back to grammar school to prepare for college. When he finished grammar school and attended Trinity College, University of Cambridge, at age 18. He started college in 1661 and while he was there he learned of the scientific revolution that had been going on in Europe. After abandoning college because of the style of teaching, he went on to study natural philosophy. He became intrigued by atomists and the theory that all things in nature were made up of particles of matter, also known as atoms. He then returned to Woolsthorpe and continued to study light, gravity and mathematics. These studies eventually lead him to some of the greatest discoveries in the history of science.

In science his main discovery was that when white light passed through a prism, it was broken up into a broad spectrum of colors. When that spectrum was shone back through another prism that spectrum became a white light again. Next he passed a single color of light through a prism, the color was the same when it came out the other end this led him to believe that white light was composed of all the colors. During this time he also formulated the corpuscular theory of light, which states that light is made up of tiny particles, also known as corpuscles.

Another great discovery that he came up with was gravity. The general law of gravity arose from Newton’s question: what keeps the moon in it’s regular path around the earth? He concluded that only the attraction of the earth and the moon could account for it.

In mathematics, Newton used the concepts of time and infinity to calculate the slopes of curves and the area under curves. While there are many things that newton invented, or rather discovered, one of the best known is Calculus. Over many years of working and reworking his earliest ideas, Newton systematized the rules for dealing with the problems with infinitesimal calculus. Not all of these rules of calculus was new, but the unification was his idea. Newton’s algebraic symbolism was developed from Descartes, and was particularly powerful. However, his calculus notation was perhaps none too successful; although it was no problem to Newton since he worked mainly in isolation anyway. Interestingly it was Leibniz’ misconceptions of differentials which provides us with successful notation, the one most commonly used today. Newton’s realization of the importance of infinite series was one of his most influential contributions to mathematics. It turned out that many math functions could be expressed as infinite series, and learning how to handle them was a major advance.

About 1667, Newton was working on the classification of cubic curves. He came up with this formula, which was intriguing and was never really considered before. Example:

y=x3+x 2+x+I, or y3=xy2-2×2y+y-3

Newton worked on many problems of his time and discovered many things which were all astounding and complex, even up to today. Calculus, Algebra, gravity and light are just a few small examples of Newton’s accomplishments. Newton died in London on March 20, 1727, and was the first scientist to be honored with burial in Westminster Abbey.


America Online: GotDaSkill

Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia- NEWTON, ISAAC

Let Newton Be! By:John Fauvel, Raymond Flood, Michael Shortland, and Robin Wilson

Copyright 1988 Oxford University Press 272 pages

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