The Enlightened Thinking of Sir Isaac Newton

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There were many Enlightenment thinkers; however an Englishman shined brighter than all the rest, Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day 1642 (January 4, 1643, New Style) in Woolsthorpe, England. Sir Isaac Newton’s father died three months before Newton was born. Newton’s mother remarried Barnabas Smith leaving Newton with his grandmother, all when he was three. When Newton was 12 his mother returned with three of her other children and pulled Newton out of school, with the intention of making him a farmer. Newton returned to school to finish his basic education and persuaded his mother to enroll him in Cambridge University, where at first he waited tables and took care of wealthier students’ rooms. This early life of Sir Isaac Newton was what led him to be a very important person in the Enlightenment period because he wrote the Principia Mathmatica, invented the reflecting telescope, and discovered The Three Laws of Motion. Over Sir Isaac Newton’s life he wrote one of the most respected books in physics and astronomy, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Matematica (which means Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy in Latin). The Principia concludes that the force that holds the planets in their orbits is in sync with earthbound gravity. This conclusion ended the view dating back to Aristotle, forever. The ultimate success of Newton’s theory of gravity was the identification of the basic forces of nature and their characterization, in laws, which is the primary pursuit of physics. The success of this theory led to a new conception of exact science that declares that every contrast between observation and theory, no matter how small, is telling scientists something important about the world. Once it beca... ... middle of paper ... ...Newton contributed to the Enlightenment period with his Principia, the reflecting telescope and The Three Laws of Motion. Newton had many jobs including a parliament member at Cambridge University; a warden at the Royal Mint in London, a professor of mathematics at Trinity College, and the president of the Royal Society . Newton took his religion very seriously; he did more work on theology than science. Newton calculated the exact date of Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion as April 3, 33 A.D. and estimated that the Apocalypse could come as early as 2060 A.D. Newton was the first scientist to be knighted by the Queen of England. Isaac Newton was knighted by Queen Anne and became Sir Isaac Newton in 1705. The world lost a great scientist when Newton died on March 31, 1727 at age 84 while still president of the Royal Society. Newton is buried in Westminster Abbey in London.

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