Physics

Isaac Newton


Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727) was born on December 25, 1642, the same year that the famous scientist Galileo died.

During childhood, he was raised by his grandmother and attended school in Woolsthorpe. As a teenager, he attended Grantham Grammar School. He was tasked with helping run the family business, which he did not like. So he divided his time between books and building ingenious entertainment, such as a miniature windmill or a water clock.

His uncle realized his extraordinary talent and convinced Newton's mother to enroll him in school in Cambridge. While preparing to enter Cambridge, Newton settled at the village pharmacist's house, where he met the girl Storey he fell in love with and became engaged before leaving the village to join Trinity College. I was then nineteen. Although he was very fond of this first and only love of his life, the growing absorption of work led him to put his love life on the back burner.

Several factors influenced Newton's intellectual development and research direction, especially the ideas he encountered in his early years, the problems he discovered through reading, and contact with others working in the same field. At the beginning of his first year he studied a copy of Euclid's Elements, Clavis de Oughtred, Descartes' Geometry, Kepler's Optics, and Viète's works. After 1663 he attended classes given by Barrow and learned works by Galileo, Fermat, and Huygens.

Newton was a self-taught who, by the end of 1664, had a great mathematical knowledge and was ready to make his own contributions. During 1666, after obtaining his Bachelor degree, Trinity College was closed due to the plague. This was the most productive period for Newton, for in those months, at his Lincolnshire home, he made four of his major discoveries: The binomial theorem; The differential and integral calculus; The law of gravitation; The nature of colors.

Newton did not focus on just one area of ​​study. Apart from mathematics and natural philosophy, his two great passions were theology and alchemy. As a theologian, Newton believed, without question, the almighty creator of the universe, believing without hesitation in the creation account. In this regard, he made efforts to prove that Daniel's prophecies and the "Apocalypse" made sense, and conducted chronological research to historically harmonize Old Testament dates.
At the age of twenty-six, he returned to Cambridge in 1667 and upon Barrow's own recommendation was elected Professor of Mathematics. His first lessons were from the optics, and he set out his own discoveries. Already in 1668 he had built with his own hands a very effective and small mirror telescope. He used it to observe Jupiter's satellites. In 1672 Newton communicates his work on telescopes and his corpuscular theory of light, which will give rise to the first of many controversies that accompanied his work.

Newton's efforts in the field of mathematics and science were great, but his greatest work was on the exposition of the world system given in his work called Principia. During the writing of Principia Newton, he had no health care, forgetting about daily meals and even sleeping.

The first two volumes contain all his theory, including that of gravitation and the general laws he established to describe motions and to relate them to the forces that determine them, laws called "Newton's laws." In the third volume, Newton deals with the applications of his theory of motion to all celestial bodies, including comets as well.

Newton, who kept his extraordinary discoveries to himself, was persuaded by Halley to make them known. The publication of Principia Book III was only because Newton had been warned by Halley. Newton's contemporaries recognized the magnitude of the scriptures, though only a few could follow the reasoning in it. Quickly, the Newtonian system was taught at Cambridge (1699) and Oxford (1704).

In January 1689, he was elected to represent the university at the parliamentary convention where it holds until its dissolution in February 1690. During those two years he lived in London where he made new friends with influential people including John Locke (1632-1704).

In the fall of 1692, Newton became seriously ill, driving him close to total collapse. Newton recovers in late 1693 to the delight of his friends.

It is a pity that after 1693 Newton was no longer devoted to mathematics. He would easily have created one of the most important applications of calculus: the calculus of variations. Already in the Principia Newton had suggested this subject when calculating the shape of a surface of revolution that crosses a mass of liquid offering minimal resistance. Also in 1696, it solved within a few hours the classic problem of brachistochrone: determining the shape of the trajectory that a falling mass, under the action of gravity, describes between two points given in a minimal time.

A few weeks before his death, Newton presided over a section of the Real Society. He was elected a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences in 1699. He died on March 20, 1727, in his sleep, eighty-five years old. He was entitled to the official funeral praise pronounced by the secretary of the Academy and buried in the Pantheon of London with the Kings of England in Westminster Abbey.