The Contributions of Isaac Newton

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It was a period in which there was an epidemic of a genius virus in Europe for scientists, explorers, inventors of many things including mathematics. Among them was Isaac Newton (1642-1727) who co-invented calculus, discovered the Binomial Theorem, and formulated a theory of universal gravitation (Smith). Newton has been regarded for almost 300 years as the founding exemplar of modern physical science, his achievements in experimental investigation being as innovative as these in mathematical research.

Before discussing his three achievements, it is important to note that Newton had some college experience but did his significant work was at home. Newton entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1661. His interest in mathematics began in the autumn of 1663, a date which matches the beginnings of his deep mathematical studies. When the plague forced the University to close in the summer of 1665, he returned to Lincolnshire [where he was born]. For a period of less than two years, Newton began revolutionary advances in mathematics and other areas such as optics, physics, and astronomy (O’Connor and Robertson). It is important to know where most of his discoveries were done in order to understand the reasons behind his inventions.

Newton is generally credited with the generalized binomial theorem which is valid for any exponent. When he started to read the works of Dr. Wallis, Newton was led to consider how “he could interpolate the general values of the areas in the second series…” (“The Life of Isaac Newton”). With this knowledge, he investigated the arithmetical law of the coefficients of the series and obtained a general method of interpolating other series. It later occurred to him that the same process of interpolating series ...

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Works Cited

“Isaac Newton” Bellevue College Inc. n.d. Web. Aug 8 2011. http://scidiv.bellevuecollege.edu/math/newton.html

O’Connor, J. J. and Robertson, E.F. “Sir Isaac Newton.” Mac Tutor History of Mathematics, Inc. Jan 2000. Web. Aug 31 2011.

http://www-history.mcst-andrews.ac.uk/history/Printonly/Newton.html

Smith, George, "Isaac Newton", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/newton/

“The Life of Isaac Newton.” Third Millennium Library. BioHistory. n.d. Web. Aug 31 2011.

http://www.third-millennium-library.com/readinghall/GalleryofHistory/Life_of_Isaac_Newton

Wilkins, D. R. “Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727).” Trinity College Dublin School of Mathematics Inc. n.d. Web. Aug 8 2011. http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistoryMath/People/Newton/RouseBall/RB_Newton.htm

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