It is incredible to reflect on how a series of individuals are able to change the course of history in a specific way. This is undoubtedly the case of Isaac Newton, a multidisciplinary thinker who dedicated his life to physics, theology, research, alchemy and mathematical calculus. Where did Isaac newton live?
What would have become of modern science without their contributions? What would the world of physics be like today if the work Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica had never been published, describing the law of universal gravitation and the foundations of classical mechanics?
Without a doubt, despite the fact that all human beings are essential to our society in one way or another, there are people who have changed the culture and the perception of the world around us. For many scientists, Isaac Newton’s magna is considered the most important scientific publication in history, to be said soon.
Therefore, for any reader eager for scientific knowledge, the approach to the figure of Isaac Newton and his contributions to the world of research is essential. Let’s remember: in order to move forward, we have to be clear about where we come from. Therefore, in this article you will find a summarized biography of Isaac Newton and an explanation of the most relevant contributions to science of this incredible figure. Where did Isaac newton live?
Isaac Newton: the biography of one of the most relevant thinkers in History
Newton was born on January 4, 1643, near the outskirts of the town of Grantham (Lincolnshire, East Midlands, England) where he spent his early life. Isaac showed a strong religious spirit during his early life stages , which is demonstrated by a “notebook of sins” that he wrote during his youth, which was auctioned in 1936 and acquired by the University of Cambridge.
As a curiosity, some of the “transgressions” exercised by this young thinker are at least bizarre: spitting water or using the word god openly are two examples of the 57 collected.
We do not want to carry out a detailed vital review of each of the stages of this fascinating figure, as we firmly believe that his works speak for themselves. We will limit ourselves to saying that at the age of 18 he entered the University of Cambridge, and at the early age of 26, he succeeded his own teacher Isaac Barrow in the chair of mathematics at his university.
His development as a scientist
After this, in 1672 he joined the Royal Society, a society that brings together the main English scientists, which to this day continues to operate under the name of “The Royal Society of London for the Advancement of Natural Science.” In 1687, at the request of a friend, he published the treatise Mathematical principles of natural philosophy or “Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica” . This is undoubtedly one of the most important works in the fields of science in general and physics in all of history.
Newton went through different public positions essential for the direction of his country, as he was a deputy of parliament, director of the Mint and even held the place of presidency of the Royal Society in 1703. Of course, during all these years shaped a series of essential contributions that we will list below. Where did Isaac newton live?
At this point, it is essential to make a note: no matter how idolized a figure may be and no matter how powerful his legacy is, a human does not stop being that, an individual. Thus, Newton’s life was not free of tribulations and discomforts, for for example, in the year 1693 he suffered a great psychic crisis, during which he isolated himself and deprived himself of food and sleep . During this time he suffered from depression and recurrent paranoia, which makes many specialists suspect that he appeared to be schizophrenia and bipolar disorder .
We are facing a versatile and fascinating person, because despite being an incredible thinker and an unusual mind, Newton did not tolerate criticism, he had strong rivalries with other researchers of the time and he even wished more than one death . Of course, the personality does not detract from the legitimacy of the work, but we must always remember that we are dealing with human beings, that is, imperfect entities like any of us.
Last years and death
Isaac left this world at 84 years of age (1727) after several kidney problems, due to renal colic. It should be noted that, despite his strong rivalries, accusations of plagiarism and manifest jealousy with the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz, he never lost the respect and devotion of both the people and the scientific community. This culminated in the year 1705, when he received the title of “Sir” (knight) from the hands of Queen Anne.
Contributions to science
Once we have walked through the life of this multifaceted character, it is time to immerse ourselves in his legacy and work. Where did Isaac newton live?
1. The law of universal gravitation
Bernard Cohen, a contemporary American historian and scientist, states that “the culminating moment of the Scientific Revolution was Isaac Newton’s discovery of the law of universal gravitation.” We are not dealing with a simple formula, but with the understanding of most of the physical phenomena observable by the human eye .
This is one of the many physical laws formulated in the book “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica”, which describes the gravitational interaction between bodies with mass. That is, it establishes a proportional relationship between the gravitational force and the mass of the bodies. To keep things simple: we can say that the force with which two masses attract each other is proportional to the product of their masses divided by the distance that separates them squared. Thus, the closer and more massive two bodies are, the more intensely they will attract each other.
2. Newton’s 3 laws
The writing space is finite, but Newton’s contributions to physics and science in general cannot be counted on two fingers. Therefore, we condense the extreme complexity of the three laws of classical mechanics , also collected in the work cited above: Where did Isaac newton live?
- Law of Inertia: A body will remain at rest or straight motion with constant velocity, unless an external force is applied.
- Fundamental law of dynamics: the net force that is applied on a body is proportional to the acceleration that it acquires in its trajectory.
- Principle of action and reaction: for all action there is always an opposite and equal reaction.
Although today these postulations may seem “boxed”, they were the foundations of classical mechanics, which has allowed us to cover everything from understanding and manufacturing machines to understanding planetary motion , when combined with the law of universal gravitation previously described.
3. Other contributions
Despite having presented you with the most important applications of Isaac Newton, there are still many other contributions to the world of science by this figure that the general population does not know.
For example, Newton is credited with inventing the infinitesimal calculus (along with the already named philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, whom Newton accused of plagiarism). In short, it is an important branch of mathematics focused on the study of change and continuity.
Also, this fascinating thinker is credited with the discovery of refractive scattering, that is, the decomposition of the white light beam into the different colors that compose it (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Thus, he showed that sunlight is composed of the sum of all colors . Almost nothing. Where did Isaac newton live?
We leave many more postulations and ideas in the pipeline, but we can summarize Newton’s scientific work in the establishment of the foundations of classical mechanics, various works on light and optics and the development of the infinitesimal calculus in the mathematical field.
We are facing a true genius and titan of his time, who in addition to carrying out multiple research tasks essential for scientific development, was a renowned public figure, until he earned the status of knight in 1705.
Despite all his achievements, he was not a flawless human being, and for this reason he was involved in intense controversy and friction with other thinkers of the time for part of his life. To this is added a strong theological spirit and the suspicion of various mental disorders, among which a possible bipolar disorder or schizophrenia is attributed. Despite being a human being (with the flaws that this entails), the work and legacy of this impressive figure will endure until humanity comes to an end.