Isaac Newton Biography
Inventor of Differential And Integral Calculus, Universal Gravitation, Telescope, White Light Composition
Posted on December 24, 2011 by Jamie Slaughter, with 13470 views
Isaac Newton is considered to be one of the greatest minds of all time. His achievements spanned across many fields including physics, optics, chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. His findings contributed towards the laws of calculus, motion, gravitational theory and theories of colour - all theories which are used extensively in the modern world.
Newton was born on January 4th, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. He was introduced to the farming industry at an early age but it soon became evident that his talents lay elsewhere, so at 17 years of age he returned to school in preparation for University, entering Cambridge University's Trinity College in 1661.
Newton developed a keen interest in mechanical philosophy at Cambridge after admiring the work of mathematicians and philosophers such as Rene Descartes. Newton was awarded a bachelor's degree in 1665, despite a plague flowing through the University forcing the University to shut for the year, so therefore returned to his home in Woolsthorpe. This is the time when Newton began to make his most groundbreaking discoveries. These included the binomial theory and later, Calculus. He kept his ideas close to his chest for several years as he felt he would be ridiculed, but over time would in fact see him considered a mathematical genius.
Newton continued working with his theories concerning the laws of motion, soon arriving at the Law of Universal Gravitation. After discovering that white light was made up of an assortment of different colours, he developed the reflecting telescope, an invention which classed him by the majority as a scientific visionary.
Newton sustained his interest into light, using prisms to re-construct light, thus proving that various colours made up white light, not in fact the prism causing the illusion, which was commonly believed until his experiment.
He realised that using the telescope as it was, was not effective enough. He established that using mirrors instead of lenses would eradicate the blurriness and offer a higher resolution of image. This opened up the possibility to see distant locations, before which would have been impossible. There had been other ideas submitted for a reflecting telescope, but Newton was the first to create a working prototype. His design utilised a mirror to receive light and direct this light at a secondary mirror, allowing the beam of light to be channelled towards an eyepiece. Newton had hoped this would increase magnification and he was right - his device was 30-times more powerful than any other telescope. His telescope was submitted to the Royal Society in 1671.
Newton published a book surrounding his theory of colours in "Hypotheses of Light" in 1675. This book soon grew into "Opticks", which received heavy criticism and also claims of plagiarism. In 1679 Newton retuned to work in the field of mechanics, most importantly gravity and astronomy, to publish his book "The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica", "The Principia" for short, in 1687. The book shares his three fundamentals of Universal Laws of Motion, and later a formal presentation regarding his Law of Universal Gravitation.