The Contributions of Isaac Newton

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Isaac Newton was born in England in 1642. He grew up never knowing his real father but resenting his step father. At age 19, Newton went off to Trinity College in Cambridge where he studied philosophers and astronomers such as Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, and Copernicus. It was here; while he obtained his degree, that Newton devised the theory of Calculus. He obtained his degree in 1665 and then dedicated his time to the binomial theory and Calculus.1 By 1666 Newton was the most advanced and enlightened mathematician our world had yet to see.2

Newton wrote in these beginning years as a physicist, “the nature of things is more securely and naturally deduced from their operations on one another than upon the senses; our explanation of both soul and body.” This was Newton’s turning point in addressing nature and its questions in a more scientific manor.2

Learning from the works of Galileo and Descartes, Newton was well aware of the principle of inertia, which says that once a body is set in to motion it will not stop until affected by some outside force. Newton used this to deduce what gravity is and how it works. He stated that an object fired into space will orbit the earth just like the moon. He called this work “A Treatise of the System of the World.”2 Newton later formed three laws of motion from his work with gravitation: 3

* Every Body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it. 3

* The change of motion is proportional to the motive force impressed. It is made in the direction of the straight line in which the force is impressed. 3

* To every action there is always opposed an equal rea...

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...n generated, proving that nature operates on mathematical principles.2

Newton's Death

* Ultimately Newton’s passion for science killed him on March 20, 1727 in London. His death was due to his body containing massive amounts of mercury. A grave site was erected in his honor in West minister Abby as shown bellow:


1. Wikipedia. "Isaac Newton."

2. Christianson, Gale E. Isaac Newton. Oxford University Press, 2005.

3. North, J.D. Isaac Newton. Oxford University Press, 1967.

4. Library Linkquest. "Newtons Machanics."

5. The Physics Classroom. "Lesson 1: Newton's First Law of Motion."