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Short biography of Isaac Newton



Birth and family

Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643 in the tiny village of Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, England. His father, whose name was also Isaac Newton, was a farmer who died before Isaac Junior was born. His mother, Hannah Ayscough, married a churchman when Newton was three years old.

Childhood and Education

Beginning at age 12, Newton attended The King’s School, Grantham, where he was taught the classics, but no science or mathematics. When he was 17, his mother stopped his schooling so that he could become a farmer. Fortunately for the future of science Newton found he had neither aptitude nor liking for farming; his mother allowed him to return to school, where he finished as top student

Servant and Undergraduate

In June 1661, at the age of 18 years, Newton began studying for a law degree at Cambridge University’s Trinity College, earning money working as a private servant to comfortable students.

When  he was a third-year student he was expenses a lot of his time studying mathematics and natural philosophy (today we call it physics). He was also very attracted in alchemy, which we now label as a pseudoscience.

Newton began to ignored the objects taught at his college, preferring to study the recent works of Galileo, Boyle, Descartes, and Kepler. He wrote:

“Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth.”

After three years at Cambridge he won a four-year scholarship, allowing him to devote his time fully to academic studies.

In 1665, at the age of 22, a year following beginning his four year scholarship, he made his primary main detection  this was in mathematics, where he exposed the generalized binomial theorem. In 1665 he was also awarded his B.A. degree.



Fellow and Professor of Mathematics

At the age of 24, in 1667, he returned to Cambridge, where events moved quickly. First he was elected as a fellow of Trinity College. A year later, in 1668, he was awarded an M.A. degree.

A year after that, the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College, Isaac Barrow, resigned and Newton was appointed as his replacement, he was just 26 years old. Barrow, who had recommended that Newton should succeed him, said of Newton’s skills in mathematics:

Isaac Barrow“Mr Newton, a fellow of our College, and very young, being but the second year master of arts; but of an extraordinary genius and proficiency.”

Isaac Barrow



Successes in Brief

Isaac Newton, who was largely self-taught in mathematics and physics:


## Generalized the binomial theorem.

## Built the world’s first working reflecting telescope.

## Discovered calculus, the mathematics of change, without which we could not understand the behavior of objects as tiny as electrons or as large as galaxies.

## Wrote the Principia, one of the most important scientific books.

## Discovered the law of universal gravitation.

## Formulated his three laws of motion – Newton’s Laws – which lie at the heart of the science of movement.

## Showed that Kepler’s laws of planetary motion which are special cases of Newton’s universal gravitation.

## Proved that all substance moving through space under the power of gravity must follow a path shaped in the form of one of the conic sections, such as a circle, an ellipse, or a parabola, hence explaining the paths all planets and comets follow.

## Showed that the tides are caused by gravitational interactions between the earth, the moon and the sun.



Calculus is the mathematics of change. Newton was the first person to fully build up calculus. Modern physics and physical chemistry would be not possible without it. Other academic disciplines such as biology and economics also rely heavily on calculus for analysis.

Universal Gravitation

The gravitational force attracting one object to another by multiplying the masses of the two objects by the gravitational constant and dividing by the square of the distance between the objects.Mathematically,



Newton’s Laws of Motion

Newton’s three laws of motion still lie at the heart of mechanics.

First law: Objects remain stationary or move at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force.

Second law: The force F on an object is equal to its mass m multiplied by its acceleration: F = ma.

Third law: When one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts a force equal in size and opposite in direction on the first object.


He built the world’s first reflecting telescope. This telescope focuses light from a curved mirror. Reflecting telescopes have several advantages over earlier telescopes including  they are cheaper to make they are easier to make in large sizes, gathering more light, allowing higher intensification they do not suffer from a focusing issue connected with lenses called chromatic aberration.


In 1696, Newton was appointed as a Warden of the Royal Mint. In 1700, he became Master of the Mint, leaving Cambridge for London, and more or less ending his scientific discovery work. He took his new role very seriously, going out into London’s taverns in disguise gathering evidence against counterfeiters.

In 1703, he was elected President of the Royal Society.

In 1705, he was knighted, becoming Sir Isaac Newton.

Isaac Newton died on March 31, 1727, aged 84.

He had never married and had no children.




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