Sir Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time and contributed to every major area of science and mathematics of his generation. He demonstrated that the universe ran according to natural laws that were understandable.
Newton was born December 25, 1642, in Woolsthorpe, England He was not an average student, but he attended and graduated from the Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1661, although without distinction.
Sir Isaac Newton
[ larger image ]
Credits - Library of Congress
When a plague swept through London, he returned to his mother's farm in the countryside and became immersed in studying the physical world. There, at the age of 23, he saw an apple fall to the ground. This led him to consider the force of gravity and he formulated the law of universal gravitation. While he was at the form, he also invented calculus, extended Galileo's work, formulated the three fundamental laws of motion, formulated a theory of the nature of light, and demonstrated that white light is composed of all the colors of the rainbow.
When the plague subsided, Newton returned to Cambridge and became established as an esteemed mathematician. He became a professor of mathematics and held the post for twenty-eight years. In 1672, he was elected to the Royal Society, where he exhibited the world's first reflector telescope.
When Newton was forty-two, he began to write the Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). It was published in Latin in 1687. It did not appear in English until 1729, two years after his death.
At the age of forty-six, he was elected to Parliament. He also served as master of the mint, and his work there cut into the counterfeiting industry.
In 1704, Newton wrote Opticks, in which he summarized his work on light. In 1713, he wrote a second edition to his Principia. In 1705, Queen Anne knighted him. He died in 1727 at the age of eighty-five