Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642 (by the Julian calendar then in use; or January 4, 1643 by the current Gregorian calendar) in Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, England. He was born the same year Galileo died. Newton is clearly the most influential scientist who ever lived. His accomplishments in mathematics, optics, and physics laid the foundations for modern science and revolutionized the world.
Newton was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge where he lived from 1661 to 1696. During this period he produced the bulk of his work on mathematics. In 1696 he was appointed Master of the Royal Mint, and moved to London, where he resided until his death.
As mathematician, Newton invented integral calculus, and jointly with Leibnitz, differential calculus. He also calculated a formula for finding the velocity of sound in a gas which was later corrected by Laplace.
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.
Newton found science a hodgepodge of isolated facts and laws, capable of describing some phenomena, but predicting only a few. He left it with a unified system of laws that can be applied to an enormous range of physical phenomena, and that can be used to make exact predications. Newton published his works in two books, namely "Opticks" and "Principia."
Newton died in London on March 20, 1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, the first scientist to be accorded this honor. A review of an encyclopedia of science will reveal at least two to three times more references to Newton than any other individual scientist. An 18th century poem written by Alexander Pope about Sir Isaac Newton states it best:
“Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said, Let Newton be! and all was light.”
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by Sir Isaac Newton
Newton presents his revolutionary scientific principles to the world.
Isaac Newton: Philosophical Writings
by Sir Isaac Newton, Andrew Janiak (Editor)
Janiak's study includes excerpts from the Principia and the Opticks, Newton's famous correspondence with Boyle and with Bentley, and his equally significant correspondence with Leibniz, often ignored in favor of Leibniz's later debate with Samuel Clarke.
Newton's Philosophy of Nature: Selections from His Writings
by Sir Isaac Newton, H. S. Thayer (Editor)
This book provides a wide representation of the interests, problems, and diverse philosophic issues that preoccupied Newton. Grouped in sections corresponding to methods, principles, and theological considerations, these selections feature explanatory notes and cross-references to related essays.
The Life of Isaac Newton
by Richard Westfall
Westfall's masterful biography tells Newton's story in depth.
Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World
by David Berlinski
Follows Newton's life from his childhood through his years as the master of England's financial system, covering all his astonishing achievements in between. An excellent, very readable biography.
Biography - Sir Isaac Newton: Gravity of Genius
Produced by A&E Home Video
The comprehensive A&E biography of Sir Isaac Newton was originally aired in 1998.
NOVA: Newton's Dark Secrets
Produced by WGBH Boston
With vivid docudrama scenes, NOVA recreates the unique climate of late 17th-century England, where a newfound fascination with science and mathematics coexisted with extreme views on religious doctrine. Unknown to most, Newton shared both obsessions. Originally aired in 1974.
NOVA - Genius: The Science of Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Galileo
Produced by WGBS Boston
An excellent collection of four Nova programs about the lives and work of four of the most influential scientists in history: Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Galileo. Originally aired in 1974.
The Newton Project
A complete electronic edition of all of Newton's works
Extended Biography of Newton
By Dr Robert A. Hatch - Univeristy of Florida
From 'A Short Account of the History of Mathematics' by W. W. Rouse Ball
From the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.
At Westminster Abbey
German translation of Lucidcafe.com's Newton Profile (provided by Anastasiya Romanova)