Isaac Newton Essay, Research Paper

Isaac Newton

By: Mary

Isaac Newton was a well-known English scientist. He accomplished a lot

during his time and influenced the world a great deal. He is considered to

have contributed more to science than any other person. His life can be

divided into three periods. The first one was his early childhood, he second

was the time of his accomplishments, and the third is his later life. Isaac

Newton was born on December 25, 1642 in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire,

England. His family was poor and his parents farmed for a living. His father

died three months before he was born. His mother later remarried a minister

and Newton went to stay with his grandmother. He attended a grammar

school at the age of eleven, but did not do well. His teachers said that he did

not pay attention. His mother then decided to pull him out of school and put

him in charge of her properties. Newton decided that he did not want to do

this, and, with the help of his uncle, Newton convinced his mother to let him

return to school. Stokes, the headmaster of the school, saw that Newton had

potential, therefore, he put extra time into tutoring, guiding and mentoring

Newton (O?Connor & Robertson 1-2). Newton entered Cambridge College

on June 5, 1661. He was older than most of the students there and entered

as a sizar (a student who received money for college expenses in exchange

for being a servant to other students). He wanted to major in law. At

Cambridge he studied the philosophies of Aristotle and many other

philosophist. During his third year he learned about the philosophies of

Descartes, Gassending, but mostly of Boyle. He also read book about

Copernicus and his relation to astronomy as well as Galileo and Kepler.

Newton became fascinated by the ideas of these scientists. He began

recording his thought in a book, which was called Quaestiones Quaedam

Philosophicae. He received his bachelor?s degree in April 1665 (O?Connor

& Robertson 2-3). Newton made many accomplishments during his lifetime.

His major accomplishments in the fields of math, physics, and optics are well

known. For his accomplishment in math, he is considered to have invented

Calculus. Although his works of Calculus were not published before a man

name Leibniz, but Newton is still considered as the inventor of Calculus.

Newton discovered the Binomial Theorem, which was used for fractional

powers (Weinstein 2). He also developed many analytical ways to solve

many problems such as: find areas, tangents, lengths of curves, and the

maxima and minima of functions (O?Connor & Robertson 3). As

mathematician, Newton and Leibniz invented differential calculus. He also

calculated a formula for finding the velocity of sound in a gas, which was later

corrected by Laplace (Chew 1). Newton made many contributions to the

field of physics. He developed the three laws of motion. The first was the law

of inertia. This law stated that objects in motion would continue to move in

that direction at a constant velocity unless an outside force acts upon it. His

second law stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite

reaction. Finally, his third law sate that forces causes masses to accelerate.

As the acceleration increases the force increases as well. They are directly

proportion to each other. Newton is considered to come up with the theory

of universal gravitation. This is not totally true, but he did contribute to it.

Newton made a huge impact on theoretical astronomy. He defined the laws

of motion and universal gravitation, which he used to predict precisely the

motions of stars, and the planets around the sun. Using his discoveries in

optics Newton constructed the first reflecting telescope (Chew1). Other

accomplishments that Newton made in the physics field was discovering the

law about centrifugal force on body that is moving in a circular path. He did

not totally understand the idea of circular motion. In 1666 Newton?s main

idea was that the Earth?s gravity influenced the moon, therefore

counterbalancing it?s centrifugal force. From this and Kelpler?s law of

planetary motion, Newton came up with the inverse-square law (O?Connor

& Robertson 5). Newton made many accomplishments to the physics field.

Newton wrote many books during his time. One of his most famous was

Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Newton had a mental

breakdown in 1675 and was still recovering in 1679. His friend, a man by the

name of Halley, was interested in orbits and; therefore, he convinced Newton

to publish his works. From August 1684 to the spring of 1686, Newton

devoted his time into doing this. Finally, in 1687, a book was published called

Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. There were three parts to this

book. The first contained definitions and talked about the three laws of

motion. The three laws that were discussed are the law of inertia, the law of

action and reaction, and the theory of how acceleration was proportion to

force. The second part contained Newton?s new scientific theory, and the

third part included an explanation for why tides occur and the theory of lunar

motion. The book also contained his set of four rules for scientific reasoning.

The first one is ?we are to admit no more causes of natural things such as are

both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.? The second rule was

?the same natural effects must be assigned to the same causes.? The third rule

stated, ? qualities of bodies are to be esteemed as universal,? and the fourth

rule stated, ? propositions deduced from observation of phenomena should

be viewed as accurate until other phenomena contradict them,? (Weinstein

1-2). Newton followed these four rules when conducting experiments and

investigating. Newton wrote another famous book in 1704 called Optics. In

this book Newton talked about how he observed that white light could be

separated by a prism into a spectrum of different colors. Each of the colors

would have a different refractivity. He performed many experiments at

Cambridge. In one of his experiments he found out that the image that a prism

produced was not circular like current theories of light required, but was

oval-shaped. In this experiment, he observed a half-red, half-blue string

through a prism and saw the ends were disjointed. He observed Newton?s

rings, which was actually a materialization of the wave nature of light. Newton

did not believe in the materialization of the wave nature of light. He believed

that light has to move faster in medium when it is refracted. Newton?s

discoveries about light were a major contribution to the science field

(Weinstein 2). Newton spent most of his later portion of his life devoted to

alchemical researches and trying to date events in the Bible. He was

appointed Warden of the British Mint in 1695 and was knighted by Queen

Anne (Weinstein 3). He died in 1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

He is the first scientist with this honor. After his death, it was discovered that

he had extremely large amounts of mercury in his body. Many say this could

be a result of his alchemical pursuits (Weinstein 3). He is considered to be

one of the most influential scientists who ever lived. His accomplishments in

mathematics, optics, and physics laid the fundamentals for modern science

and changed the world.

Chew, Robin. ?Isaac Newton.?

http://www2.lucidcafe.com/lucidcafe/library/95dec/newton.html December

1995. O?Connor JJ & Robertson, E F. ?Isaac Newton.?

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