864 Words2 Pages

Born on Christmas Day, 1642, Isaac Newton spent his early childhood in a small farm-house in the hamlet of Woolsthope, sixty miles northwest of Cambridge and one hundred miles from London. Newton's biological father died before he was born and his mother remarried two years later to the Reverend Barnabas Smith. Newton attended the King's School at Grantham at the age of twelve but was brought home by his mother at nearly the age of sixteen to manage the estate. Luckily for science, Newton showed little interest in farming. Newton's childhood acquaintances remember him building a model windmill, ingenious water-mill and many sun-dials (North 5-8).

Newton, as an unsuccessful farmer, entered Trinity College at the age of eighteen. He went as a subsizer (one who runs errands to pay for college). Here Newton studied Sanderson's Logic and Kepler's Optics along with a number of leading edge theories at the time. Newton was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in Cambridge by 1663. In 1665 the Great Plague struck England and Newton retired to Woolsthorpe to lived in seclusion. Here Newton made some of the greatest discoveries of his career (North 9-12).

Newton took his first step beyond his mentors during the winter of 1664-5. During this time, Newton extended the use of Willis's infinite series to evaluate areas and developed what we now know as the binomial theorem. In Newton's studies he generalized Pascal's Binomial Theorem to fractional and negative powers (Westfall 42).

Newton also discovered the concept of decimal fractions, which could be used to evaluate Pi out to any given number of decimal places. Newton believed that quantities calculated by binomial expansion should be considered an infinite series. Adding the binomial ...

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...ct attracts every other material object with a force that is proportional to its mass and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them (Berlinski 134-135).

1. Frame portrait obtained at http://www.math.fu-berlin.de/rd/ag/isaac/newton/gallery.html

2. Berlinski, David. Newton's Gift. New York: The Free Press, 2000

3. Copper, William. Great Physicists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001

4. "Newton's Three Laws of Motion," retrieved 26 Nov. 2002. _____

5. North, J.D. Isaac Newton. London: Oxford University Press, 1967

6. "Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation," retrieved 26 Nov. 2002.

_____

7. Westfall, Richard. The Life of Isaac Newton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, _____1993

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