Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and in his later years, theologian. He is credited as being one of the most, if not the most, influential scientists in the history of humankind. His theories were thought to have inspired the Enlightenment period, a time of rational thought and scientific inquiry.
Sir Isaac Newton revolutionized several scientific fields. In the field of mathematics, he invented integral calculus and later, along with Leibnitz, differential calculus. In the field of astronomy he defined the laws of motion and gravity. At this point, he also created the first reflecting telescope. He was the first person to create a unified system of laws that could be applied to any physical phenomena in many fields of science. In his later years, he would write books of theology and philosophy.
Isaac Newton began his life in Woolsthorpe, England. As a young man he moved to Cambridge to attend Trinity College. In 1696 he moved to London, when he was appointed Master of the Royal Mint, and he would remain there for the rest of his life.
Isaac Newton, a premature baby, was born in 1642, the same year that Galileo died. He died on March 31, 1727. After his death it was discovered that Newton's body had large amounts of mercury in it as a result of the experiments he pursued during his life. It is likely that he died of mercury poisoning.
Most scientific fields have benefited from Sir Isaac Newton's discoveries. The unified system of rules that Newton created is a basis that all scientists to follow. Without the calculus, laws of motion, and theory of gravity created by Newton, almost no modern technology could have been invented.
One of the most popular myths known to school children everywhere involves Newton and an apple tree. Legend says that Sir Isaac Newton was sitting beneath an apple tree when an apple fell and smacked him on the head. At this moment, story says, Newton discovered the laws of gravity. As popular and romantic as this story is the truth, written in Newton's own hand in his accounts of the discovery, tells us that Newton was indoors and well away from any possible apple trees, when he first theorized about the existence of gravity.
The contributions of Sir Isaac Newton cannot be stressed enough. Newton's 1687 book, Philosophie Naturalis Principia Mathematica, is thought to be the single most influential book in the entire history of science. In 2005, a poll of the Royal Society deemed Sir Isaac Newton more influential than Albert Einstein.
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