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Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

Overview
Sir Isaac Newton PRS
President of the Royal Society
The president of the Royal Society is the elected director of the Royal Society of London. After informal meetings at Gresham College, the Royal Society was founded officially on 15 July 1662 for the encouragement of ‘philosophical studies’, by a royal charter which nominated William Brouncker as...

(25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727 ) was an English physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

, mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

, astronomer
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, natural philosopher
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

, alchemist
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

, and theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

 who ever lived."

His monograph Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, lays the foundations for most of classical mechanics
Classical mechanics
In physics, classical mechanics is one of the two major sub-fields of mechanics, which is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces...

. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that form the basis for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces...

, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 for the next three centuries.
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Quotations

I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.

Letter to Robert Hooke (15 February 1676) [5 February 1675 (Old Style and New Style dates|O.S.)]

To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.

Statement from unpublished notes for the Preface to Opticks (1704) quoted in Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton (1983) by Richard S. Westfall, p. 643

By always thinking unto them. ... I keep the subject constantly before me and wait till the first dawnings open little by little into the full light.

Reply upon being asked how he made his discoveries, as quoted in Newton Tercentenary Celebrations: 15-19 July 1946 (1947) by Royal Society|The Royal Society; also in Nature (4 September 1965)
Encyclopedia
Sir Isaac Newton PRS
President of the Royal Society
The president of the Royal Society is the elected director of the Royal Society of London. After informal meetings at Gresham College, the Royal Society was founded officially on 15 July 1662 for the encouragement of ‘philosophical studies’, by a royal charter which nominated William Brouncker as...

(25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727 ) was an English physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

, mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

, astronomer
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, natural philosopher
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

, alchemist
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

, and theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

 who ever lived."

His monograph Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, lays the foundations for most of classical mechanics
Classical mechanics
In physics, classical mechanics is one of the two major sub-fields of mechanics, which is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces...

. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that form the basis for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces...

, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 for the next three centuries. Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 and of celestial
Celestial mechanics
Celestial mechanics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the motions of celestial objects. The field applies principles of physics, historically classical mechanics, to astronomical objects such as stars and planets to produce ephemeris data. Orbital mechanics is a subfield which focuses on...

 bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws, by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler's laws of planetary motion
Kepler's laws of planetary motion
In astronomy, Kepler's laws give a description of the motion of planets around the Sun.Kepler's laws are:#The orbit of every planet is an ellipse with the Sun at one of the two foci....

 and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

 and advancing the Scientific Revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

. The Principia is generally considered to be one of the most important scientific books ever written.

Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope
Reflecting telescope
A reflecting telescope is an optical telescope which uses a single or combination of curved mirrors that reflect light and form an image. The reflecting telescope was invented in the 17th century as an alternative to the refracting telescope which, at that time, was a design that suffered from...

 and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the many colours that form the visible spectrum
Visible spectrum
The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light. A typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 750 nm. In terms of...

. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound
Speed of sound
The speed of sound is the distance travelled during a unit of time by a sound wave propagating through an elastic medium. In dry air at , the speed of sound is . This is , or about one kilometer in three seconds or approximately one mile in five seconds....

.

In mathematics, Newton shares the credit with Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

 for the development
History of calculus
Calculus, historically known as infinitesimal calculus, is a mathematical discipline focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. Ideas leading up to the notions of function, derivative, and integral were developed throughout the 17th century, but the decisive step was...

 of differential and integral calculus
Infinitesimal calculus
Infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding slope of curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. It was independently developed by Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton starting in the 1660s...

. He also demonstrated the generalised binomial theorem
Binomial theorem
In elementary algebra, the binomial theorem describes the algebraic expansion of powers of a binomial. According to the theorem, it is possible to expand the power n into a sum involving terms of the form axbyc, where the exponents b and c are nonnegative integers with , and the coefficient a of...

, developed Newton's method
Newton's method
In numerical analysis, Newton's method , named after Isaac Newton and Joseph Raphson, is a method for finding successively better approximations to the roots of a real-valued function. The algorithm is first in the class of Householder's methods, succeeded by Halley's method...

 for approximating the roots of a function, and contributed to the study of power series.

Newton was also highly religious. He was an unorthodox Christian
Isaac Newton's religious views
Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, theologian and alchemist. He also wrote many works that would now be classified as occult studies....

, and wrote more on Biblical hermeneutics
Biblical hermeneutics
Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. It is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles for the text and includes all forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal.While Jewish and Christian...

 and occult studies
Isaac Newton's occult studies
Sir Isaac Newton , the noted English scientist and mathematician, wrote many works that would now be classified as occult studies.These occult works explored chronology, alchemy, and Biblical interpretation ....

 than on science and mathematics, the subjects he is mainly associated with. Newton secretly rejected Trinitarianism, fearing to be accused of refusing holy orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

.

Early life


Isaac Newton was born on what is retroactively considered 4 January 1643 [OS
Old Style and New Style dates
Old Style and New Style are used in English language historical studies either to indicate that the start of the Julian year has been adjusted to start on 1 January even though documents written at the time use a different start of year ; or to indicate that a date conforms to the Julian...

: 25 December 1642]
at Woolsthorpe Manor
Woolsthorpe Manor
Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, was the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton on 25 December 1642...

 in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth
Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth
Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth is a hamlet in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It is probably best known as the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton....

, a hamlet
Hamlet (place)
A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

 in the county of Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

. At the time of Newton's birth, England had not adopted the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

 and therefore his date of birth was recorded as Christmas Day, 25 December 1642. Newton was born three months after the death of his father, a prosperous farmer also named Isaac Newton. Born prematurely
Premature birth
In humans preterm birth refers to the birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks gestational age. The cause for preterm birth is in many situations elusive and unknown; many factors appear to be associated with the development of preterm birth, making the reduction of preterm birth a challenging...

, he was a small child; his mother Hannah Ayscough
Hannah Ayscough
Hannah Ayscough was the mother of Sir Isaac Newton.-Early life:Hannah was born in Market Overton in Rutland in 1623. Her parents were James Ayscough and his wife Margery Blythe.-Motherhood:...

 reportedly said that he could have fit inside a quart
Quart
The quart is a unit of volume equal to a quarter of a gallon, two pints, or four cups. Since gallons of various sizes have historically been in use, quarts of various sizes have also existed; see gallon for further discussion. Three of these kinds of quarts remain in current use, all approximately...

 mug (≈ 1.1 litres). When Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabus Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The young Isaac disliked his stepfather and held some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them." While Newton was once engaged in his late teens to a Miss Storey, he never married, being highly engrossed in his studies and work.


From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton was educated at The King's School, Grantham
The King's School, Grantham
The King's School is a British grammar school located in the market town of Grantham, in Lincolnshire, England, and one of the oldest schools in the UK.-History:...

 (where his alleged signature can still be seen upon a library window sill). He was removed from school, and by October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth
Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth
Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth is a hamlet in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It is probably best known as the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton....

, where his mother, widowed by now for a second time, attempted to make a farmer of him. He hated farming. Henry Stokes, master at the King's School, persuaded his mother to send him back to school so that he might complete his education. Motivated partly by a desire for revenge against a schoolyard bully, he became the top-ranked student. The Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen
Simon Baron-Cohen
Simon Baron-Cohen FBA is professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is the Director of the University's Autism Research Centre, and a Fellow of Trinity College...

 considers it "fairly certain" that Newton suffered from Asperger syndrome
Asperger syndrome
Asperger's syndrome that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development...

.

In June 1661, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 as a sizar
Sizar
At Trinity College, Dublin and the University of Cambridge, a sizar is a student who receives some form of assistance such as meals, lower fees or lodging during his or her period of study, in some cases in return for doing a defined job....

 – a sort of work-study role. At that time, the college's teachings were based on those of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, but Newton preferred to read the more advanced ideas of modern philosophers, such as Descartes
René Descartes
René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

, and of astronomers such as Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe....

, Galileo
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

, and Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

. In 1665, he discovered the generalised binomial theorem
Binomial theorem
In elementary algebra, the binomial theorem describes the algebraic expansion of powers of a binomial. According to the theorem, it is possible to expand the power n into a sum involving terms of the form axbyc, where the exponents b and c are nonnegative integers with , and the coefficient a of...

 and began to develop a mathematical theory that later became infinitesimal calculus
Infinitesimal calculus
Infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding slope of curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. It was independently developed by Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton starting in the 1660s...

. Soon after Newton had obtained his degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague
Great Plague of London
The Great Plague was a massive outbreak of disease in the Kingdom of England that killed an estimated 100,000 people, 20% of London's population. The disease is identified as bubonic plague, an infection by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, transmitted through a flea vector...

. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student, Newton's private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics
Optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...

 and the law of gravitation. In 1667, he returned to Cambridge as a fellow of Trinity. Fellows were required to become ordained priests, something Newton desired to avoid due to his unorthodox views. Luckily for Newton, there was no specific deadline for ordination and it could be postponed indefinitely. The problem became more severe later when Newton was elected for the prestigious Lucasian Chair. For such a significant appointment, ordaining normally could not be dodged. Nevertheless, Newton managed to avoid it by means of a special permission from Charles II (see "Middle years" section below).

Mathematics


Newton's work has been said "to distinctly advance every branch of mathematics then studied".

His work on the subject usually referred to as fluxions or calculus is seen, for example, in a manuscript of October 1666, now published among Newton's mathematical papers. A related subject was infinite series. Newton's manuscript "De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas" ("On analysis by equations infinite in number of terms") was sent by Isaac Barrow
Isaac Barrow
Isaac Barrow was an English Christian theologian, and mathematician who is generally given credit for his early role in the development of infinitesimal calculus; in particular, for the discovery of the fundamental theorem of calculus. His work centered on the properties of the tangent; Barrow was...

 to John Collins
John Collins (mathematician)
John Collins was an English mathematician. He is most known for his extensive correspondence with leading scientists and mathematicians such as Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, Gottfried Leibniz, Isaac Newton, and John Wallis...

 in June 1669: in August 1669 Barrow identified its author to Collins as "Mr Newton, a fellow of our College, and very young ... but of an extraordinary genius and proficiency in these things".

Newton later became involved in a dispute with Leibniz over priority in the development of infinitesimal calculus. Most modern historians believe that Newton and Leibniz developed infinitesimal calculus
Infinitesimal calculus
Infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding slope of curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. It was independently developed by Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton starting in the 1660s...

 independently, although with very different notations. Occasionally it has been suggested that Newton published almost nothing about it until 1693, and did not give a full account until 1704, while Leibniz began publishing a full account of his methods in 1684. (Leibniz's notation and "differential Method", nowadays recognised as much more convenient notations, were adopted by continental European mathematicians, and after 1820 or so, also by British mathematicians.) Such a suggestion, however, fails to notice the content of calculus which critics of Newton's time and modern times have pointed out in Book 1 of Newton's Principia itself (published 1687) and in its forerunner manuscripts, such as De motu corporum in gyrum
De motu corporum in gyrum
De motu corporum in gyrum is the title of a manuscript by Isaac Newton sent to Edmond Halley in November 1684...

 ("On the motion of bodies in orbit"), of 1684. The Principia is not written in the language of calculus either as we know it or as Newton's (later) 'dot' notation would write it. But his work extensively uses an infinitesimal calculus in geometric form, based on limiting values of the ratios of vanishing small quantities: in the Principia itself Newton gave demonstration of this under the name of 'the method of first and last ratios' and explained why he put his expositions in this form, remarking also that 'hereby the same thing is performed as by the method of indivisibles'.

Because of this, the Principia has been called "a book dense with the theory and application of the infinitesimal calculus" in modern times and "lequel est presque tout de ce calcul" ('nearly all of it is of this calculus') in Newton's time. His use of methods involving "one or more orders of the infinitesimally small" is present in his De motu corporum in gyrum of 1684 and in his papers on motion "during the two decades preceding 1684".

Newton had been reluctant to publish his calculus because he feared controversy and criticism. He had a very close relationship with Swiss mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier was a Swiss mathematician known for his work on the zodiacal light problem, for his very close relationship with Isaac Newton, for his role in the Newton v. Leibniz calculus controversy, and for originating the "push" or "shadow" theory of gravitation...

, who from the beginning was impressed by Newton's gravitational theory. In 1691, Duillier planned to prepare a new version of Newton's Principia, but never finished it. However, in 1693 the relationship between the two men changed. At the time, Duillier had also exchanged several letters with Leibniz.

Starting in 1699, other members of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 (of which Newton was a member) accused Leibniz of plagiarism
Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...

, and the dispute broke out in full force in 1711. The Royal Society proclaimed in a study that it was Newton who was the true discoverer and labelled Leibniz a fraud. This study was cast into doubt when it was later found that Newton himself wrote the study's concluding remarks on Leibniz. Thus began the bitter controversy which marred the lives of both Newton and Leibniz until the latter's death in 1716.

Newton is generally credited with the generalised binomial theorem, valid for any exponent. He discovered Newton's identities
Newton's identities
In mathematics, Newton's identities, also known as the Newton–Girard formulae, give relations between two types of symmetric polynomials, namely between power sums and elementary symmetric polynomials...

, Newton's method
Newton's method
In numerical analysis, Newton's method , named after Isaac Newton and Joseph Raphson, is a method for finding successively better approximations to the roots of a real-valued function. The algorithm is first in the class of Householder's methods, succeeded by Halley's method...

, classified cubic plane curves (polynomials of degree three in two variables
Variable (mathematics)
In mathematics, a variable is a value that may change within the scope of a given problem or set of operations. In contrast, a constant is a value that remains unchanged, though often unknown or undetermined. The concepts of constants and variables are fundamental to many areas of mathematics and...

), made substantial contributions to the theory of finite differences, and was the first to use fractional indices and to employ coordinate geometry to derive solutions to Diophantine equations. He approximated partial sums of the harmonic series
Harmonic series (mathematics)
In mathematics, the harmonic series is the divergent infinite series:Its name derives from the concept of overtones, or harmonics in music: the wavelengths of the overtones of a vibrating string are 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc., of the string's fundamental wavelength...

 by logarithms (a precursor to Euler's summation formula), and was the first to use power series with confidence and to revert power series.

He was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in 1669 on Barrow's recommendation. In that day, any fellow of Cambridge or Oxford was required to become an ordained Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 priest. However, the terms of the Lucasian professorship required that the holder not be active in the church (presumably so as to have more time for science). Newton argued that this should exempt him from the ordination requirement, and Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

, whose permission was needed, accepted this argument. Thus a conflict between Newton's religious views and Anglican orthodoxy was averted.

Optics



From 1670 to 1672, Newton lectured on optics. During this period he investigated the refraction
Refraction
Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its speed. It is essentially a surface phenomenon . The phenomenon is mainly in governance to the law of conservation of energy. The proper explanation would be that due to change of medium, the phase velocity of the wave is changed...

 of light, demonstrating that a prism could decompose white light
White
White is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cone cells in the human eye in nearly equal amounts and with high brightness compared to the surroundings. A white visual stimulation will be void of hue and grayness.White light can be...

 into a spectrum of colours, and that a lens
Lens (optics)
A lens is an optical device with perfect or approximate axial symmetry which transmits and refracts light, converging or diverging the beam. A simple lens consists of a single optical element...

 and a second prism could recompose the multicoloured spectrum into white light.

He also showed that the coloured light does not change its properties by separating out a coloured beam and shining it on various objects. Newton noted that regardless of whether it was reflected or scattered or transmitted, it stayed the same colour. Thus, he observed that colour is the result of objects interacting with already-coloured light rather than objects generating the colour themselves. This is known as Newton's theory of colour.

From this work, he concluded that the lens of any refracting telescope
Refracting telescope
A refracting or refractor telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image . The refracting telescope design was originally used in spy glasses and astronomical telescopes but is also used for long focus camera lenses...

 would suffer from the dispersion
Dispersion (optics)
In optics, dispersion is the phenomenon in which the phase velocity of a wave depends on its frequency, or alternatively when the group velocity depends on the frequency.Media having such a property are termed dispersive media...

 of light into colours (chromatic aberration
Chromatic aberration
In optics, chromatic aberration is a type of distortion in which there is a failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same convergence point. It occurs because lenses have a different refractive index for different wavelengths of light...

). As a proof of the concept, he constructed a telescope using a mirror as the objective
Objective (optics)
In an optical instrument, the objective is the optical element that gathers light from the object being observed and focuses the light rays to produce a real image. Objectives can be single lenses or mirrors, or combinations of several optical elements. They are used in microscopes, telescopes,...

 to bypass that problem. Building the design, the first known functional reflecting telescope, today known as a Newtonian telescope
Newtonian telescope
The Newtonian telescope is a type of reflecting telescope invented by the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton , using a concave primary mirror and a flat diagonal secondary mirror. Newton’s first reflecting telescope was completed in 1668 and is the earliest known functional reflecting telescope...

, involved solving the problem of a suitable mirror material and shaping technique. Newton ground his own mirrors out of a custom composition of highly reflective speculum metal
Speculum metal
Speculum metal is a mixture of around two-thirds copper and one-third tin making a white brittle alloy that can be polished to make a highly reflective surface. It is used primarily to make different kinds of mirrors including early reflecting telescope optical mirrors...

, using Newton's rings
Newton's rings
The phenomenon of Newton's rings, named after Isaac Newton who first studied them in 1717, is an interference pattern caused by the reflection of light between two surfaces - a spherical surface and an adjacent flat surface...

 to judge the quality
Quality (philosophy)
A quality is an attribute or a property. Attributes are ascribable, by a subject, whereas properties are possessible. In contemporary philosophy, the idea of qualities and especially how to distinguish certain kinds of qualities from one another remains controversial.-Background:Aristotle analyzed...

 of the optics for his telescopes. In late 1668 he was able to produce this first reflecting telescope. In 1671, the Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope. Their interest encouraged him to publish his notes On Colour, which he later expanded into his Opticks
Opticks
Opticks is a book written by English physicist Isaac Newton that was released to the public in 1704. It is about optics and the refraction of light, and is considered one of the great works of science in history...

. When Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but...

 criticised some of Newton's ideas, Newton was so offended that he withdrew from public debate. Newton and Hooke had brief exchanges in 1679–80, when Hooke, appointed to manage the Royal Society's correspondence, opened up a correspondence intended to elicit contributions from Newton to Royal Society transactions, which had the effect of stimulating Newton to work out a proof that the elliptical form of planetary orbits would result from a centripetal force inversely proportional to the square of the radius vector (see Newton's law of universal gravitation – History and De motu corporum in gyrum
De motu corporum in gyrum
De motu corporum in gyrum is the title of a manuscript by Isaac Newton sent to Edmond Halley in November 1684...

). But the two men remained generally on poor terms until Hooke's death.

Newton argued that light is composed of particles or corpuscles, which were refracted by accelerating into a denser medium. He verged on soundlike waves to explain the repeated pattern of reflection and transmission by thin films (Opticks Bk.II, Props. 12), but still retained his theory of ‘fits’ that disposed corpuscles to be reflected or transmitted (Props.13). Later physicists instead favoured a purely wavelike explanation of light to account for the interference patterns, and the general phenomenon of diffraction
Diffraction
Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word "diffraction" and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1665...

. Today's quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

, photons and the idea of wave–particle duality
Wave–particle duality
Wave–particle duality postulates that all particles exhibit both wave and particle properties. A central concept of quantum mechanics, this duality addresses the inability of classical concepts like "particle" and "wave" to fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects...

 bear only a minor resemblance to Newton's understanding of light.

In his Hypothesis of Light of 1675, Newton posited the existence of the ether
Luminiferous aether
In the late 19th century, luminiferous aether or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light....

 to transmit forces between particles. The contact with the theosophist Henry More
Henry More
Henry More FRS was an English philosopher of the Cambridge Platonist school.-Biography:Henry was born at Grantham and was schooled at The King's School, Grantham and at Eton College...

, revived his interest in alchemy. He replaced the ether with occult forces based on Hermetic
Hermeticism
Hermeticism or the Western Hermetic Tradition is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs based primarily upon the pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus...

 ideas of attraction and repulsion between particles. John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

, who acquired many of Newton's writings on alchemy, stated that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason: He was the last of the magicians." Newton's interest in alchemy cannot be isolated from his contributions to science; however, he did apparently abandon his alchemical researches. (This was at a time when there was no clear distinction between alchemy and science.) Had he not relied on the occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

 idea of action at a distance
Action at a distance (physics)
In physics, action at a distance is the interaction of two objects which are separated in space with no known mediator of the interaction. This term was used most often in the context of early theories of gravity and electromagnetism to describe how an object responds to the influence of distant...

, across a vacuum, he might not have developed his theory of gravity. (See also Isaac Newton's occult studies
Isaac Newton's occult studies
Sir Isaac Newton , the noted English scientist and mathematician, wrote many works that would now be classified as occult studies.These occult works explored chronology, alchemy, and Biblical interpretation ....

.)

In 1704, Newton published Opticks
Opticks
Opticks is a book written by English physicist Isaac Newton that was released to the public in 1704. It is about optics and the refraction of light, and is considered one of the great works of science in history...

, in which he expounded his corpuscular theory of light. He considered light to be made up of extremely subtle corpuscles, that ordinary matter was made of grosser corpuscles and speculated that through a kind of alchemical transmutation "Are not gross Bodies and Light convertible into one another, ...and may not Bodies receive much of their Activity from the Particles of Light which enter their Composition?" Newton also constructed a primitive form of a frictional electrostatic generator
Electrostatic generator
An electrostatic generator, or electrostatic machine, is a mechanical device that produces static electricity, or electricity at high voltage and low continuous current...

, using a glass globe (Optics, 8th Query).

In an article entitled "Newton, prisms, and the 'opticks' of tunable lasers it is indicated that Newton in his book Opticks
Opticks
Opticks is a book written by English physicist Isaac Newton that was released to the public in 1704. It is about optics and the refraction of light, and is considered one of the great works of science in history...

 was the first to show a diagram using a prism as a beam expander. In the same book he describes, via diagrams, the use of multiple-prism arrays. Some 278 years after Newton's discussion, multiple-prism beam expanders became central to the development of narrow-linewidth
Laser linewidth
←Laser linewidth is the spectral linewidth of a laser beam.Two of the most distinctive characteristics of laser emission are spatial coherence and spectral coherence. While spatial coherence is related to the beam divergence of the laser, spectral coherence is evaluated by measuring the laser...

 tunable laser
Tunable laser
A tunable laser is a laser whose wavelength of operation can be altered in a controlled manner. While all laser gain media allow small shifts in output wavelength, only a few types of lasers allow continuous tuning over a significant wavelength range....

s. Also, the use of these prismatic beam expanders led to the multiple-prism dispersion theory
Multiple-prism dispersion theory
The first description of multiple-prism arrays, and multiple-prism dispersion, was given by Newton in his book Opticks. Prism pair expanders were introduced by Brewster in 1813. A modern mathematical description of the single-prism dispersion was given by Born and Wolf in 1959...

.

Mechanics and gravitation



In 1679, Newton returned to his work on (celestial
Celestial mechanics
Celestial mechanics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the motions of celestial objects. The field applies principles of physics, historically classical mechanics, to astronomical objects such as stars and planets to produce ephemeris data. Orbital mechanics is a subfield which focuses on...

) mechanics, i.e., gravitation and its effect on the orbits of planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s, with reference to Kepler's laws of planetary motion. This followed stimulation by a brief exchange of letters in 1679–80 with Hooke, who had been appointed to manage the Royal Society's correspondence, and who opened a correspondence intended to elicit contributions from Newton to Royal Society transactions. Newton's reawakening interest in astronomical matters received further stimulus by the appearance of a comet in the winter of 1680–1681, on which he corresponded with John Flamsteed
John Flamsteed
Sir John Flamsteed FRS was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars.- Life :Flamsteed was born in Denby, Derbyshire, England, the only son of Stephen Flamsteed...

. After the exchanges with Hooke, Newton worked out a proof that the elliptical form of planetary orbits would result from a centripetal force inversely proportional to the square of the radius vector (see Newton's law of universal gravitation – History and De motu corporum in gyrum). Newton communicated his results to Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley FRS was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, following in the footsteps of John Flamsteed.-Biography and career:Halley...

 and to the Royal Society in De motu corporum in gyrum
De motu corporum in gyrum
De motu corporum in gyrum is the title of a manuscript by Isaac Newton sent to Edmond Halley in November 1684...

, a tract written on about 9 sheets which was copied into the Royal Society's Register Book in December 1684. This tract contained the nucleus that Newton developed and expanded to form the Principia.

The Principia was published on 5 July 1687 with encouragement and financial help from Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley FRS was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, following in the footsteps of John Flamsteed.-Biography and career:Halley...

. In this work, Newton stated the three universal laws of motion that enabled many of the advances of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 which soon followed and were not to be improved upon for more than 200 years, and are still the underpinnings of the non-relativistic technologies of the modern world. He used the Latin word gravitas (weight) for the effect that would become known as gravity, and defined the law of universal gravitation
Newton's law of universal gravitation
Newton's law of universal gravitation states that every point mass in the universe attracts every other point mass with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them...

.

In the same work, Newton presented a calculus-like method of geometrical analysis by 'first and last ratios', gave the first analytical determination (based on Boyle's law
Boyle's law
Boyle's law is one of many gas laws and a special case of the ideal gas law. Boyle's law describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system...

) of the speed of sound in air, inferred the oblateness of the spheroidal figure of the Earth, accounted for the precession of the equinoxes as a result of the Moon's gravitational attraction on the Earth's oblateness, initiated the gravitational study of the irregularities in the motion of the moon, provided a theory for the determination of the orbits of comets, and much more.

Newton made clear his heliocentric view of the solar system – developed in a somewhat modern way, because already in the mid-1680s he recognised the "deviation of the Sun" from the centre of gravity of the solar system. For Newton, it was not precisely the centre of the Sun or any other body that could be considered at rest, but rather "the common centre of gravity of the Earth, the Sun and all the Planets is to be esteem'd the Centre of the World", and this centre of gravity "either is at rest or moves uniformly forward in a right line" (Newton adopted the "at rest" alternative in view of common consent that the centre, wherever it was, was at rest).

Newton's postulate of an invisible force able to act over vast distances
Action at a distance (physics)
In physics, action at a distance is the interaction of two objects which are separated in space with no known mediator of the interaction. This term was used most often in the context of early theories of gravity and electromagnetism to describe how an object responds to the influence of distant...

 led to him being criticised for introducing "occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

 agencies" into science. Later, in the second edition of the Principia (1713), Newton firmly rejected such criticisms in a concluding General Scholium
General Scholium
The General Scholium is an essay written by Isaac Newton, appended to his work of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, known as the Principia. General Scholium was first published with the second edition of the Principia and reappeared with some additions and modifications on the third ...

, writing that it was enough that the phenomena implied a gravitational attraction, as they did; but they did not so far indicate its cause, and it was both unnecessary and improper to frame hypotheses of things that were not implied by the phenomena. (Here Newton used what became his famous expression Hypotheses non fingo
Hypotheses non fingo
Hypotheses non fingo is a famous phrase used by Isaac Newton in an essay General Scholium which was appended to the second edition of the Principia....

).

With the Principia, Newton became internationally recognised. He acquired a circle of admirers, including the Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

-born mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier was a Swiss mathematician known for his work on the zodiacal light problem, for his very close relationship with Isaac Newton, for his role in the Newton v. Leibniz calculus controversy, and for originating the "push" or "shadow" theory of gravitation...

, with whom he formed an intense relationship that lasted until 1693, when it abruptly ended, at the same time that Newton suffered a nervous breakdown
Nervous breakdown
Mental breakdown is a non-medical term used to describe an acute, time-limited phase of a specific disorder that presents primarily with features of depression or anxiety.-Definition:...

.

Later life




In the 1690s, Newton wrote a number of religious tracts dealing with the literal interpretation of the Bible. Henry More
Henry More
Henry More FRS was an English philosopher of the Cambridge Platonist school.-Biography:Henry was born at Grantham and was schooled at The King's School, Grantham and at Eton College...

's belief in the Universe and rejection of Cartesian dualism may have influenced Newton's religious ideas. A manuscript he sent to John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 in which he disputed the existence of the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 was never published. Later works The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728) and Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733) were published after his death. He also devoted a great deal of time to alchemy
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

 (see above).

Newton was also a member of the Parliament of England
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 from 1689 to 1690 and in 1701, but according to some accounts his only comments were to complain about a cold draught in the chamber and request that the window be closed.

Newton moved to London to take up the post of warden of the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

 in 1696, a position that he had obtained through the patronage of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax
Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax
Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, KG, PC, FRS was an English poet and statesman.-Early life:Charles Montagu was born in Horton, Northamptonshire, the son of George Montagu, fifth son of 1st Earl of Manchester...

, then Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

. He took charge of England's great recoining, somewhat treading on the toes of Lord Lucas, Governor of the Tower (and securing the job of deputy comptroller
Comptroller
A comptroller is a management level position responsible for supervising the quality of accounting and financial reporting of an organization.In British government, the Comptroller General or Comptroller and Auditor General is in most countries the external auditor of the budget execution of the...

 of the temporary Chester branch for Edmond Halley). Newton became perhaps the best-known Master of the Mint
Master of the Mint
Master of the Mint was an important office in the governments of Scotland and England, and later Great Britain, between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Master was the highest officer in the Royal Mint. Until 1699, appointment was usually for life. Its holder occasionally sat in the cabinet...

 upon the death of Thomas Neale
Thomas Neale
Thomas Neale was a British project-manager and politician who was also well-known in the United States as the first person to hold a position equivalent to postmaster-general of the North American colonies....

 in 1699, a position Newton held until his death. These appointments were intended as sinecure
Sinecure
A sinecure means an office that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service...

s, but Newton took them seriously, retiring from his Cambridge duties in 1701, and exercising his power to reform the currency and punish clippers
Debasement
Debasement is the practice of lowering the value of currency. It is particularly used in connection with commodity money such as gold or silver coins...

 and counterfeiters. As Master of the Mint in 1717 in the "Law of Queen Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

" Newton moved the Pound Sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 de facto from the silver standard
Silver standard
The silver standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver. The silver specie standard was widespread from the fall of the Byzantine Empire until the 19th century...

 to the gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

 by setting the bimetallic relationship between gold coins and the silver penny in favour of gold. This caused silver sterling coin to be melted and shipped out of Britain. Newton was made President of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1703 and an associate of the French Académie des Sciences
French Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research...

. In his position at the Royal Society, Newton made an enemy of John Flamsteed
John Flamsteed
Sir John Flamsteed FRS was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars.- Life :Flamsteed was born in Denby, Derbyshire, England, the only son of Stephen Flamsteed...

, the Astronomer Royal
Astronomer Royal
Astronomer Royal is a senior post in the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. There are two officers, the senior being the Astronomer Royal dating from 22 June 1675; the second is the Astronomer Royal for Scotland dating from 1834....

, by prematurely publishing Flamsteed's Historia Coelestis Britannica, which Newton had used in his studies.

In April 1705, Queen Anne knighted
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

 Newton during a royal visit to Trinity College, Cambridge. The knighthood is likely to have been motivated by political considerations connected with the Parliamentary election in May 1705, rather than any recognition of Newton's scientific work or services as Master of the Mint. Newton was the second scientist to be knighted, after Sir Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

.

Towards the end of his life, Newton took up residence at Cranbury Park
Cranbury Park
Cranbury Park is a stately home and country estate situated in the parish of Hursley, near Winchester, England. It was formerly the home to Sir Isaac Newton and later to the Chamberlayne family, whose descendants now own and occupy the house and surrounding park and farmland...

, near Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

 with his niece and her husband, until his death in 1727. Newton died in his sleep in London on 31 March 1727 [OS
Old Style and New Style dates
Old Style and New Style are used in English language historical studies either to indicate that the start of the Julian year has been adjusted to start on 1 January even though documents written at the time use a different start of year ; or to indicate that a date conforms to the Julian...

: 20 March 1726],
and was buried in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. His half-niece, Catherine Barton Conduitt, served as his hostess in social affairs at his house on Jermyn Street
Jermyn Street
Jermyn Street is a street in the City of Westminster, central London, to the south, parallel and adjacent to Piccadilly.It is well known as a street where the shops are almost exclusively aimed at the Gentleman's market and is famous for its resident shirtmakers Jermyn Street is a street in the...

 in London; he was her "very loving Uncle," according to his letter to her when she was recovering from smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

. Newton, a bachelor, had divested much of his estate to relatives during his last years, and died intestate
Intestacy
Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies owning property greater than the sum of their enforceable debts and funeral expenses without having made a valid will or other binding declaration; alternatively where such a will or declaration has been made, but only applies to part of...

.

After his death, Newton's body was discovered to have had massive amounts of mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 in it, probably resulting from his alchemical pursuits. Mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning is a disease caused by exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury is a heavy metal occurring in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses...

 could explain Newton's eccentricity in late life.

Fame


French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange
Joseph Louis Lagrange
Joseph-Louis Lagrange , born Giuseppe Lodovico Lagrangia, was a mathematician and astronomer, who was born in Turin, Piedmont, lived part of his life in Prussia and part in France, making significant contributions to all fields of analysis, to number theory, and to classical and celestial mechanics...

 often said that Newton was the greatest genius who ever lived, and once added that Newton was also "the most fortunate, for we cannot find more than once a system of the world to establish." English poet Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

 was moved by Newton's accomplishments to write the famous epitaph
Epitaph
An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial...

:

Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night;

God said "Let Newton be" and all was light.


Newton himself had been rather more modest of his own achievements, famously writing in a letter to Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but...

 in February 1676:
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.


Two writers think that the above quote, written at a time when Newton and Hooke were in dispute over optical discoveries, was an oblique attack on Hooke (said to have been short and hunchbacked), rather than or in addition to a statement of modesty. On the other hand, the widely known proverb about standing on the shoulders of giants
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants is a Western metaphor meaning "One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past," a contemporary interpretation. However, the metaphor was first recorded in the twelfth century...

 published among others by 17th-century poet George Herbert
George Herbert
George Herbert was a Welsh born English poet, orator and Anglican priest.Being born into an artistic and wealthy family, he received a good education that led to his holding prominent positions at Cambridge University and Parliament. As a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, Herbert excelled in...

 (a former orator of the University of Cambridge and fellow of Trinity College) in his Jacula Prudentum (1651), had as its main point that "a dwarf on a giant's shoulders sees farther of the two", and so its effect as an analogy would place Newton himself rather than Hooke as the 'dwarf'.

In a later memoir, Newton wrote:
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.


Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 kept a picture of Newton on his study wall alongside ones of Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday, FRS was an English chemist and physicist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry....

 and James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell of Glenlair was a Scottish physicist and mathematician. His most prominent achievement was formulating classical electromagnetic theory. This united all previously unrelated observations, experiments and equations of electricity, magnetism and optics into a consistent theory...

. Newton remains influential to today's scientists, as demonstrated by a 2005 survey of members of Britain's Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 (formerly headed by Newton) asking who had the greater effect on the history of science, Newton or Einstein. Royal Society scientists deemed Newton to have made the greater overall contribution. In 1999, an opinion poll of 100 of today's leading physicists voted Einstein the "greatest physicist ever;" with Newton the runner-up, while a parallel survey of rank-and-file physicists by the site PhysicsWeb gave the top spot to Newton.

Commemorations


Newton's monument (1731) can be seen in Westminster Abbey, at the north of the entrance to the choir against the choir screen, near his tomb. It was executed by the sculptor Michael Rysbrack (1694–1770) in white and grey marble with design by the architect William Kent
William Kent
William Kent , born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, was an eminent English architect, landscape architect and furniture designer of the early 18th century.He was baptised as William Cant.-Education:...

. The monument features a figure of Newton reclining on top of a sarcophagus, his right elbow resting on several of his great books and his left hand pointing to a scroll with a mathematical design. Above him is a pyramid and a celestial globe showing the signs of the Zodiac and the path of the comet of 1680. A relief panel depicts putti using instruments such as a telescope and prism. The Latin inscription on the base translates as:
Here is buried Isaac Newton, Knight, who by a strength of mind almost divine, and mathematical principles peculiarly his own, explored the course and figures of the planets, the paths of comets, the tides of the sea, the dissimilarities in rays of light, and, what no other scholar has previously imagined, the properties of the colours thus produced. Diligent, sagacious and faithful, in his expositions of nature, antiquity and the holy Scriptures, he vindicated by his philosophy the majesty of God mighty and good, and expressed the simplicity of the Gospel in his manners. Mortals rejoice that there has existed such and so great an ornament of the human race! He was born on 25 December 1642, and died on 20 March 1726/7. — Translation from G.L. Smyth, The Monuments and Genii of St. Paul's Cathedral, and of Westminster Abbey (1826), ii, 703–4.


From 1978 until 1988, an image of Newton designed by Harry Ecclestone appeared on Series D £1 banknotes issued by the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 (the last £1 notes to be issued by the Bank of England). Newton was shown on the reverse of the notes holding a book and accompanied by a telescope, a prism and a map of the Solar System
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

.

A statue of Isaac Newton, looking at an apple at his feet, can be seen at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, sometimes known simply as the Oxford University Museum, is a museum displaying many of the University of Oxford's natural history specimens, located on Parks Road in Oxford, England. It also contains a lecture theatre which is used by the...

.

Religious views



According to most scholars, Newton was a monotheist who believed in biblical prophecies but was Antitrinitarian
Nontrinitarianism
Nontrinitarianism includes all Christian belief systems that disagree with the doctrine of the Trinity, namely, the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases and yet co-eternal, co-equal, and indivisibly united in one essence or ousia...

. 'In Newton's eyes, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

, to him the fundamental sin'. Historian Stephen D. Snobelen
Stephen Snobelen
Dr. Stephen Snobelen, originally from British Columbia, is a professor of the history of science and technology at the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia...

 says of Newton, "Isaac Newton was a heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

. But ... he never made a public declaration of his private faith — which the orthodox would have deemed extremely radical. He hid his faith so well that scholars are still unravelling his personal beliefs." Snobelen concludes that Newton was at least a Socinian sympathiser (he owned and had thoroughly read at least eight Socinian books), possibly an Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 and almost certainly an anti-trinitarian. In an age notable for its religious intolerance, there are few public expressions of Newton's radical views, most notably his refusal to take holy orders and his refusal, on his death bed, to take the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

 when it was offered to him.

In a view disputed by Snobelen, T.C. Pfizenmaier argues that Newton held the Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 view of the Trinity rather than the Western one held by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and most Protestants.

Although the laws of motion and universal gravitation became Newton's best-known discoveries, he warned against using them to view the Universe as a mere machine, as if akin to a great clock. He said, "Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done."

His scientific fame notwithstanding, Newton's studies of the Bible and of the early Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 were also noteworthy. Newton wrote works on textual criticism
Textual criticism
Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts...

, most notably An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture
An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture
An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture is a dissertation by the English mathematician and scholar Sir Isaac Newton. First published in 1754, 27 years after his death, it claimed to review all the textual evidence available from ancient sources on two disputed Bible passages: ...

. He also placed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at 3 April, AD 33, which agrees with one traditionally accepted date. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to find hidden messages within the Bible
Bible code
The Bible code , also known as the Torah code, is a purported set of secret messages encoded within the text Hebrew Bible and describing prophesies and other guidance regarding the future. This hidden code has been described as a method by which specific letters from the text can be selected to...

.

Newton wrote more on religion than he did on natural science. He believed in a rationally immanent world, but he rejected the hylozoism
Hylozoism
Hylozoism is the philosophical point of view that all matter is in some sense alive. This may include the view that "inanimate" matter has latent powers of abiogenesis, a widely held position in the scientific community...

 implicit in Leibniz and Baruch Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death...

. Thus, the ordered and dynamically informed Universe could be understood, and must be understood, by an active reason. In his correspondence, Newton claimed that in writing the Principia "I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity". He saw evidence of design in the system of the world: "Such a wonderful uniformity in the planetary system must be allowed the effect of choice". But Newton insisted that divine intervention would eventually be required to reform the system, due to the slow growth of instabilities. For this, Leibniz
lampooned him: "God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time: otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion." Newton's position was vigorously defended by his follower Samuel Clarke
Samuel Clarke
thumb|right|200px|Samuel ClarkeSamuel Clarke was an English philosopher and Anglican clergyman.-Early life and studies:...

 in a famous correspondence
Leibniz-Clarke correspondence
The Leibniz–Clarke correspondence was a scientific, theological and philosophical debate conducted in an exchange of letters between the German thinker Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, an English supporter of Isaac Newton during the years 1715 and 1716...

.

Effect on religious thought


Newton and Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

's mechanical philosophy was promoted by rationalist pamphleteer
Pamphleteer
A pamphleteer is a historical term for someone who creates or distributes pamphlets. Pamphlets were used to broadcast the writer's opinions on an issue, for example, in order to get people to vote for their favorite politician or to articulate a particular political ideology.A famous pamphleteer...

s as a viable alternative to the pantheists
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

 and enthusiasts
Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm originally meant inspiration or possession by a divine afflatus or by the presence of a god. Johnson's Dictionary, the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, defines enthusiasm as "a vain belief of private revelation; a vain confidence of divine favour or...

, and was accepted hesitantly by orthodox preachers as well as dissident preachers like the latitudinarian
Latitudinarian
Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th-century English theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance...

s. Thus, the clarity and simplicity of science was seen as a way to combat the emotional and metaphysical
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 superlatives of both superstitious
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

 enthusiasm and the threat of atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, and, at the same time, the second wave of English deists
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 used Newton's discoveries to demonstrate the possibility of a "Natural Religion".

The attacks made against pre-Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 "magical thinking", and the mystical elements of Christianity
Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions...

, were given their foundation with Boyle's mechanical conception of the Universe. Newton gave Boyle's ideas their completion through mathematical proof
Mathematical proof
In mathematics, a proof is a convincing demonstration that some mathematical statement is necessarily true. Proofs are obtained from deductive reasoning, rather than from inductive or empirical arguments. That is, a proof must demonstrate that a statement is true in all cases, without a single...

s and, perhaps more importantly, was very successful in popularising them. Newton refashioned the world governed by an interventionist God into a world crafted by a God that designs along rational and universal principles. These principles were available for all people to discover, allowed people to pursue their own aims fruitfully in this life, not the next
Afterlife
The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

, and to perfect themselves with their own rational powers.

Newton saw God as the master creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. His spokesman, Clarke, rejected Leibniz' theodicy
Theodicy
Theodicy is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence , omniscience , and omnipotence . Theodicy is usually concerned with the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to the relevant...

 which cleared God from the responsibility for l'origine du mal
Problem of evil
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

 by making God removed from participation in his creation, since as Clarke pointed out, such a deity would be a king in name only, and but one step away from atheism. But the unforeseen theological
Christian theology
- Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

 consequence of the success of Newton's system over the next century was to reinforce the deist
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 position advocated by Leibniz.
The understanding of the world was now brought down to the level of simple human reason, and humans, as Odo Marquard argued, became responsible for the correction and elimination of evil.

Views of the end of the world


In a manuscript he wrote in 1704 in which he describes his attempts to extract scientific information from the Bible, he estimated that the world would end no earlier than 2060. In predicting this he said, "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."

Enlightenment philosophers


Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 philosophers chose a short history of scientific predecessors — Galileo, Boyle, and Newton principally — as the guides and guarantors of their applications of the singular concept of Nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 and Natural Law
Natural law
Natural law, or the law of nature , is any system of law which is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behavior. Natural law is contrasted with the positive law Natural...

 to every physical and social field of the day. In this respect, the lessons of history and the social structures built upon it could be discarded.

It was Newton's conception of the Universe based upon Natural and rationally understandable laws that became one of the seeds for Enlightenment ideology. Locke and Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 applied concepts of Natural Law to political systems advocating intrinsic rights; the physiocrats and Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

 applied Natural conceptions of psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 and self-interest to economic systems; and sociologists
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 criticised the current social order
Social order
Social order is a concept used in sociology, history and other social sciences. It refers to a set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which conserve, maintain and enforce "normal" ways of relating and behaving....

 for trying to fit history into Natural models of progress
Progress (history)
In historiography and the philosophy of history, progress is the idea that the world can become increasingly better in terms of science, technology, modernization, liberty, democracy, quality of life, etc...

. Monboddo and Samuel Clarke
Samuel Clarke
thumb|right|200px|Samuel ClarkeSamuel Clarke was an English philosopher and Anglican clergyman.-Early life and studies:...

 resisted elements of Newton's work, but eventually rationalised it to conform with their strong religious views of nature.

Counterfeiters


As warden of the Royal Mint
Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the body permitted to manufacture, or mint, coins in the United Kingdom. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but since 2009 it operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a company which has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK...

, Newton estimated that 20 percent of the coins taken in during The Great Recoinage of 1696
Great Recoinage of 1696
The Great Recoinage of 1696 was an attempt by the British Government to replace the hammered silver that made up most of the coinage in circulation, much of it being clipped and badly worn. -History:English currency was in disarray in the late 17th century...

 were counterfeit
Counterfeit
To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product...

. Counterfeiting was high treason
High treason in the United Kingdom
Under the law of the United Kingdom, high treason is the crime of disloyalty to the Crown. Offences constituting high treason include plotting the murder of the sovereign; having sexual intercourse with the sovereign's consort, with his eldest unmarried daughter, or with the wife of the heir to the...

, punishable by the felon's being hanged, drawn and quartered
Hanged, drawn and quartered
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was from 1351 a penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reigns of King Henry III and his successor, Edward I...

. Despite this, convicting the most flagrant criminals could be extremely difficult. However, Newton proved to be equal to the task. Disguised as a habitué of bars and taverns, he gathered much of that evidence himself. For all the barriers placed to prosecution, and separating the branches of government, English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 still had ancient and formidable customs of authority. Newton had himself made a justice of the peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

 in all the home counties. Then he conducted more than 100 cross-examinations of witnesses, informers, and suspects between June 1698 and Christmas 1699. Newton successfully prosecuted 28 coiners.

One of Newton's cases as the King's attorney was against William Chaloner
William Chaloner
William Chaloner was a serial offender counterfeit coiner and confidence trickster, who was imprisoned in Newgate Prison several times and eventually proven guilty of High Treason by Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Royal Mint...

. Chaloner's schemes included setting up phony conspiracies of Catholics and then turning in the hapless conspirators whom he had entrapped. Chaloner made himself rich enough to posture as a gentleman. Petitioning Parliament, Chaloner accused the Mint of providing tools to counterfeiters (a charge also made by others). He proposed that he be allowed to inspect the Mint's processes in order to improve them. He petitioned Parliament to adopt his plans for a coinage that could not be counterfeited, while at the same time striking false coins. Newton put Chaloner on trial for counterfeiting and had him sent to Newgate Prison in September 1697. But Chaloner had friends in high places, who helped him secure an acquittal and his release. Newton put him on trial a second time with conclusive evidence. Chaloner was convicted of high treason and hanged, drawn and quartered on 23 March 1699 at Tyburn gallows
Tyburn, London
Tyburn was a village in the county of Middlesex close to the current location of Marble Arch in present-day London. It took its name from the Tyburn or Teo Bourne 'boundary stream', a tributary of the River Thames which is now completely covered over between its source and its outfall into the...

.

Laws of motion


The famous three laws of motion (stated in modernised form):
Newton's First Law (also known as the Law of Inertia
Inertia
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. It is proportional to an object's mass. The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles of classical physics which are used to...

) states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and that an object in uniform motion tends to stay in uniform motion unless acted upon by a net external force. The meaning of this law is the existence of reference frames (called inertial frames) where objects not acted upon by forces move in uniform motion (in particular, they may be at rest).

Newton's Second Law states that an applied force, , on an object equals the rate of change of its momentum, , with time. Mathematically, this is expressed as

If applied to an object with constant mass (dm/dt = 0), the first term vanishes, and by substitution using the definition of acceleration
Acceleration
In physics, acceleration is the rate of change of velocity with time. In one dimension, acceleration is the rate at which something speeds up or slows down. However, since velocity is a vector, acceleration describes the rate of change of both the magnitude and the direction of velocity. ...

, the equation can be written in the iconic form


The first and second laws represent a break with the physics of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, in which it was believed that a force was necessary in order to maintain motion. They state that a force is only needed in order to change an object's state of motion. The SI unit of force is the newton, named in Newton's honour.

Newton's Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that any force exerted onto an object has a counterpart force that is exerted in the opposite direction back onto the first object. A common example is of two ice skaters pushing against each other and sliding apart in opposite directions. Another example is the recoil
Recoil
Recoil is the backward momentum of a gun when it is discharged. In technical terms, the recoil caused by the gun exactly balances the forward momentum of the projectile and exhaust gasses, according to Newton's third law...

 of a firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

, in which the force propelling the bullet
Bullet
A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

 is exerted equally back onto the gun and is felt by the shooter. Since the objects in question do not necessarily have the same mass, the resulting acceleration of the two objects can be different (as in the case of firearm recoil).

Unlike Aristotle's, Newton's physics is meant to be universal. For example, the second law applies both to a planet and to a falling stone.

The vector nature of the second law addresses the geometrical relationship between the direction of the force and the manner in which the object's momentum changes. Before Newton, it had typically been assumed that a planet orbiting the sun would need a forward force to keep it moving. Newton showed instead that all that was needed was an inward attraction from the sun. Even many decades after the publication of the Principia, this counterintuitive idea was not universally accepted, and many scientists preferred Descartes' theory of vortices.

Apple incident



Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree. Although it has been said that the apple story is a myth and that he did not arrive at his theory of gravity in any single moment, acquaintances of Newton (such as William Stukeley
William Stukeley
William Stukeley FRS, FRCP, FSA was an English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology"...

, whose manuscript account, published in 1752, has been made available by the Royal Society) do in fact confirm the incident, though not the cartoon version that the apple actually hit Newton's head. Stukeley recorded in his Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's Life a conversation with Newton in Kensington on 15 April 1726:

... We went into the garden, & drank thea under the shade of some appletrees, only he, & myself. amidst other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. "why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground," thought he to him self: occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a comtemplative mood: "why should it not go sideways, or upwards? but constantly to the earths centre? assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. there must be a drawing power in matter. & the sum of the drawing power in the matter of the earth must be in the earths center, not in any side of the earth. therefore dos this apple fall perpendicularly, or toward the center. if matter thus draws matter; it must be in proportion of its quantity. therefore the apple draws the earth, as well as the earth draws the apple."


John Conduitt, Newton's assistant at the Royal Mint and husband of Newton's niece, also described the event when he wrote about Newton's life:

In the year 1666 he retired again from Cambridge to his mother in Lincolnshire. Whilst he was pensively meandering in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity (which brought an apple from a tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought. Why not as high as the Moon said he to himself & if so, that must influence her motion & perhaps retain her in her orbit, whereupon he fell a calculating what would be the effect of that supposition.


In similar terms, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 wrote in his Essay on Epic Poetry (1727), "Sir Isaac Newton walking in his gardens, had the first thought of his system of gravitation, upon seeing an apple falling from a tree."

It is known from his notebooks that Newton was grappling in the late 1660s with the idea that terrestrial gravity extends, in an inverse-square proportion, to the Moon; however it took him two decades to develop the full-fledged theory. The question was not whether gravity existed, but whether it extended so far from Earth that it could also be the force holding the moon to its orbit. Newton showed that if the force decreased as the inverse square of the distance, one could indeed calculate the Moon's orbital period, and get good agreement. He guessed the same force was responsible for other orbital motions, and hence named it "universal gravitation".

Various trees are claimed to be "the" apple tree which Newton describes. The King's School, Grantham, claims that the tree was purchased by the school, uprooted and transported to the headmaster's garden some years later. The staff of the [now] National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

-owned Woolsthorpe Manor dispute this, and claim that a tree present in their gardens is the one described by Newton. A descendant of the original tree can be seen growing outside the main gate of Trinity College, Cambridge, below the room Newton lived in when he studied there. The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale can supply grafts from their tree, which appears identical to Flower of Kent
Flower of Kent
The Flower of Kent is a green variety of cooking apple. According to the story, this is the apple Isaac Newton saw falling to ground from its tree, inspiring his laws of universal gravitation. It is pear-shaped, mealy, and sub-acid, and of generally poor quality by today's standards...

, a coarse-fleshed cooking variety.

Writings



  • Method of Fluxions
    Method of Fluxions
    Method of Fluxions is a book by Isaac Newton. The book was completed in 1671, and published in 1736. Fluxions is Newton's term for differential calculus...

     (1671)
  • Of Natures Obvious Laws & Processes in Vegetation (unpublished, c. 1671–75)
  • De motu corporum in gyrum
    De motu corporum in gyrum
    De motu corporum in gyrum is the title of a manuscript by Isaac Newton sent to Edmond Halley in November 1684...

     (1684)
  • Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687)
  • Opticks
    Opticks
    Opticks is a book written by English physicist Isaac Newton that was released to the public in 1704. It is about optics and the refraction of light, and is considered one of the great works of science in history...

     (1704)
  • Reports as Master of the Mint (1701–25)
  • Arithmetica Universalis
    Arithmetica Universalis
    100px|thumb|Title page of the Arithmetica, published 1707100px|thumb|The English translation by Raphson was published in 1720Arithmetica Universalis is a mathematics text by Isaac Newton. Written in Latin, it was edited and published by William Whiston, Newton's successor as Lucasian Professor of...

     (1707)
  • The System of the World, Optical Lectures, The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms, (Amended)
    The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms
    The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms is an approximately 87,000-word composition written by Sir Isaac Newton, first published posthumously in 1728 in limited supply, but since republished in mass paperback format...

     and De mundi systemate (published posthumously in 1728)
  • Observations on Daniel and The Apocalypse of St. John (1733)
  • An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture
    An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture
    An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture is a dissertation by the English mathematician and scholar Sir Isaac Newton. First published in 1754, 27 years after his death, it claimed to review all the textual evidence available from ancient sources on two disputed Bible passages: ...

     (1754)

See also



  • Newton family
    Newton family
    -Early Newtons:The Newtons were a family from Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire. The most recognised member of the Newton family is Sir Isaac Newton, son of Hannah Ayscough and Isaac Newton Sr., the elder...

  • De Motu (Berkeley's essay)
    De Motu (Berkeley's essay)
    De Motu is an essay written by George Berkeley and published in 1721. Its full title is De Motu or The Principle and Nature of Motion and the Cause of the Communication of Motions. The essay was unsuccessfully submitted for a prize that had been offered by the Royal Academy of Sciences at...

  • Elements of the Philosophy of Newton
    Elements of the Philosophy of Newton
    Elements of the Philosophy of Newton is a book written by the philosopher Voltaire in 1738 that helped to popularize the theories and thought of Isaac Newton...

  • Finite difference: Newton series
  • Gauss–Newton algorithm
  • History of calculus
    History of calculus
    Calculus, historically known as infinitesimal calculus, is a mathematical discipline focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. Ideas leading up to the notions of function, derivative, and integral were developed throughout the 17th century, but the decisive step was...

  • Ismaël Bullialdus
    Ismaël Bullialdus
    Ismaël Bullialdus was a French astronomer.Bullialdus was born Ismaël Boulliau in Loudun, Vienne, France, the first surviving son to Calvinists Susanna Motet and Ismaël Boulliau, a notary by profession and amateur astronomer. At age twenty-one he converted to Catholicism, and by twenty-six was...

  • Leibniz–Newton calculus controversy
  • List of multiple discoveries: 17th century

  • Newton disc
    Newton disc
    A Newton disc is a disc with segments in rainbow colours. When the disc is rotated, the colors fade to white; In this way Isaac Newton demonstrated that white light is a combination of the seven different colours found in a rainbow. A Newton Disc can be created by painting a disc with the seven...

  • Newton fractal
  • Newton polygon
    Newton polygon
    In mathematics, the Newton polygon is a tool for understanding the behaviour of polynomials over local fields.In the original case, the local field of interest was the field of formal Laurent series in the indeterminate X, i.e. the field of fractions of the formal power series ringover K, where K...

  • Newton polynomial
    Newton polynomial
    In the mathematical field of numerical analysis, a Newton polynomial, named after its inventor Isaac Newton, is the interpolation polynomial for a given set of data points in the Newton form...

  • Newton (unit)
  • Newton's cannonball
    Newton's cannonball
    Newton's cannonball was a thought experiment Isaac Newton used to hypothesize that the force of gravity was universal, and it was the key force for planetary motion...

  • Newton's cradle
    Newton's cradle
    Newton's cradle, named after Sir Isaac Newton, is a device that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy via a series of swinging spheres. When one on the end is lifted and released, the resulting force travels through the line and pushes the last one upward...

  • Newton's inequalities
    Newton's inequalities
    In mathematics, the Newton inequalities are named after Isaac Newton. Suppose a1, a2, ..., an are real numbers and let \sigma_k denote the kth elementary symmetric function in a1, a2, ..., an...



  • Newton's notation
  • Newton's reflector
    Newton's Reflector
    The first reflecting telescope built by Sir Isaac Newton in 1668 is a landmark in the history of telescopes, being the first known successful reflecting telescope. It was the prototype for a design that later came to be called a newtonian telescope....

  • Newton's theorem of revolving orbits
    Newton's theorem of revolving orbits
    In classical mechanics, Newton's theorem of revolving orbits identifies the type of central force needed to multiply the angular speed of a particle by a factor k without affecting its radial motion . Newton applied his theorem to understanding the overall rotation of orbits that is observed for...

  • Newton's theorem about ovals
    Newton's theorem about ovals
    In mathematics, Newton's theorem about ovals states that the area cut off by a secant of a smooth convex oval is not an algebraic function of the secant....

  • Newton–Cotes formulas
  • Newton–Euler equations
  • Newtonianism
    Newtonianism
    Newtonianism is a doctrine that involves following the principles and using the methods of natural philosopher Isaac Newton. While Newton's influential contributions were primarily in physics and mathematics, his broad conception of the universe as being governed by rational and understandable laws...

  • Schrödinger–Newton equations


Footnotes and references



Further reading


  • Bardi, Jason Socrates. The Calculus Wars: Newton, Leibniz, and the Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time. 2006. 277 pp. excerpt and text search.
  • Berlinski, David. Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World. (2000). 256 pp. excerpt and text search ISBN 0-684-84392-7
  • Buchwald, Jed Z. and Cohen, I. Bernard, eds. Isaac Newton's Natural Philosophy. MIT Press
    MIT Press
    The MIT Press is a university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts .-History:...

    , 2001. 354 pp. excerpt and text search See this site for excerpt and text search.
  • Cohen, I. Bernard and Smith, George E., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Newton. (2002). 500 pp. focuses on philosophical issues only; excerpt and text search; complete edition online – Preface by Albert Einstein. Reprinted by Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York (1972).
  • Hawking, Stephen
    Stephen Hawking
    Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

    , ed. On the Shoulders of Giants. ISBN 0-7624-1348-4 Places selections from Newton's Principia in the context of selected writings by Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Einstein Keynes took a close interest in Newton and owned many of Newton's private papers.
  • Newton, Isaac. Papers and Letters in Natural Philosophy, edited by I. Bernard Cohen
    I. Bernard Cohen
    I. Bernard Cohen was the Victor S. Thomas Professor of the history of science at Harvard University and the author of many books on the history of science and, in particular, Isaac Newton....

    . Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    , 1958,1978. ISBN 0-674-46853-8.
  • Newton, Isaac (1642–1727). The Principia: a new Translation, Guide by I. Bernard Cohen ISBN 0-520-08817-4 University of California (1999)
  • Shapley, Harlow, S. Rapport, and H. Wright. A Treasury of Science; "Newtonia" pp. 147–9; "Discoveries" pp. 150–4. Harper & Bros., New York, (1946). The 100 Greatest Minds of all Time | location = Sydney | publisher=The Book Company | year = 1996}} (edited by A. H. White; originally published in 1752)


Religion


  • Dobbs, Betty Jo Tetter. The Janus Faces of Genius: The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Thought. (1991), links the alchemy to Arianism
  • Force, James E., and Richard H. Popkin, eds. Newton and Religion: Context, Nature, and Influence. (1999), 342pp . Pp. xvii + 325. 13 papers by scholars using newly opened manuscripts
  • Ramati, Ayval. "The Hidden Truth of Creation: Newton's Method of Fluxions" British Journal for the History of Science 34: 417–438. in JSTOR, argues that his calculus had a theological basis
  • Snobelen, Stephen "'God of Gods, and Lord of Lords': The Theology of Isaac Newton's General Scholium to the Principia," Osiris, 2nd Series, Vol. 16, (2001), pp. 169–208 in JSTOR
  • Wiles, Maurice. Archetypal Heresy. Arianism through the Centuries. (1996) 214pp, with chapter 4 on 18th century England; pp 77–93 on Newton excerpt and text search,


Primary sources


  • Newton, Isaac. The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. University of California Press
    University of California Press
    University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

    , (1999). 974 pp.
    • Brackenridge, J. Bruce. The Key to Newton's Dynamics: The Kepler Problem and the Principia: Containing an English Translation of Sections 1, 2, and 3 of Book One from the First (1687) Edition of Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. University of California Press, 1996. 299 pp.
  • Newton, Isaac. The Optical Papers of Isaac Newton. Vol. 1: The Optical Lectures, 1670–1672. Cambridge U. Press, 1984. 627 pp.
    • Newton, Isaac. Opticks (4th ed. 1730) online edition
    • Newton, I. (1952). Opticks, or A Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections & Colours of Light. New York: Dover Publications.
  • Newton, I. Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and His System of the World, tr. A. Motte, rev. Florian Cajori
    Florian Cajori
    Florian Cajori was one of the most celebrated historians of mathematics in his day.- Biography :...

    . Berkeley: University of California Press. (1934). – 8 volumes
  • Newton, Isaac. The correspondence of Isaac Newton, ed. H. W. Turnbull and others, 7 vols. (1959–77)
  • Newton's Philosophy of Nature: Selections from His Writings edited by H. S. Thayer, (1953), online edition
  • Isaac Newton, Sir; J Edleston; Roger Cotes
    Roger Cotes
    Roger Cotes FRS was an English mathematician, known for working closely with Isaac Newton by proofreading the second edition of his famous book, the Principia, before publication. He also invented the quadrature formulas known as Newton–Cotes formulas and first introduced what is known today as...

    , Correspondence of Sir Isaac Newton and Professor Cotes, including letters of other eminent men, London, John W. Parker, West Strand; Cambridge, John Deighton, 1850. – Google Books
  • Maclaurin, C. (1748). An Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophical Discoveries, in Four Books. London: A. Millar and J. Nourse.
  • Newton, I. (1958). Isaac Newton's Papers and Letters on Natural Philosophy and Related Documents, eds. I. B. Cohen and R. E. Schofield. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Newton, I. (1962). The Unpublished Scientific Papers of Isaac Newton: A Selection from the Portsmouth Collection in the University Library, Cambridge, ed. A. R. Hall and M. B. Hall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Newton, I. (1975). Isaac Newton's 'Theory of the Moon's Motion' (1702). London: Dawson.


External links




Writings by him