Biography of Sir Isaac Newton and lessons to learn


Early Life of Newton

Sir Isaac Newton was a great scientist born on Christmas Day, in 1643, to a relatively poor farming family. His father died 3 months before he was born. His mother later remarried, but her second husband did not get on with Isaac; leading to friction between Isaac and his parents. The young Isaac attended school at King’s School, Grantham in Lincolnshire (where his signature is still inscribed in the walls. Isaac was one of the top students, but before completing his studies his mother withdrew him from school, so Isaac could work as a farmer. It was only through the intervention of the headmaster that Isaac was able to return to finish his studies; he passed his final exams with very good results, and was able to go to Trinity College, Cambridge. In early 1684, in a conversation with fellow Royal Society members Christopher Wren and Edmond Halley, Hooke made his case on the proof for planetary motion. Both Wren and Halley thought he was on to something, but pointed out that a mathematical demonstration was needed. In August 1684, Halley traveled to Cambridge to visit Newton, who was coming out of his seclusion. Halley idly asked him what shape the orbit of a planet would take if its attraction to the sun followed the inverse square of the distance between them (Hooke’s theory).

Newton knew the answer, due to his concentrated work for the past six years, and replied, “An ellipse.” Newton claimed to have solved the problem some 18 years prior, during his hiatus from Cambridge and the plague, but he was unable to find his notes. Halley persuaded him to work out the problem mathematically and offered to pay all costs so that the ideas might be published.

Newton at Cambridge

At Cambridge he was able to pursue his interests in mathematics, science and physics. At the time the prevailing education was based on Aristotle, but Isaac was more interested in modern mathematicians such as Rene Descartes. Isaac Newton had a prodigious capacity to consider mathematical problems, and then focus on them until he had solved the mystery behind them. His one pointed nature led him to, at times, be detached from the world. For example, he had little time for women. An early teenage romance came to nothing, and he remained single throughout his life.

Sir Isaac Newton has been referred to as one of the greatest genius’ of history. His mathematical and scientific achievements give credence to such a view. His many accomplishments in the field of science include amongst others:

Developing a theory of Calculus

Unfortunately, at the same time as Newton, calculus was being developed by Leibinz.  When Leibinz published his results, there was a bitter feud between the two men, with Newton claiming plagiarism. This bitter feud lasted until Leibinz death in 1713; it also extended between British mathematicians and the continent.

Mathematical Achievements of Newton

  • Generalized binomial theorem
  • Newton’s identities,
  • Newton’s method,
  • classified cubic plane curves (polynomials of degree three in two variables),
  • Substantial contributions to the theory of finite differences,
  • Use of fractional indices
  • Used geometry to derive solutions to Diophantine equations.
  • Used power series with confidence and to revert power series.
  • Discovered a new formula for pi.

Scientific Achievements of Newton

  • Optics– Newton made great advancements into the study of optics. In particular he developed the spectrum by splitting white light through a prism.
  • Telescope– he made significant improvements to the development of the telescope. However, when his ideas were criticized by Hooke, Newton withdrew from the public debate. He developed an antagonistic and hostile attitude to Hooke, throughout his life.
  • Mechanics and Gravitation. In his famous bookPrincipa Mathematica. Newton explained the three laws of motion that laid the framework for modern physics.
    This involved explaining planetary movements.

Top 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Isaac Newton

  • Isaac Newton was born in 1642, the same year that Galileo Galilei died.
  • The rivalry between Newton and Robert Hooke is well known and according to some sources, the hatred continued even after Hooke’s death and Newton had all portraits of Hooke destroyed.
  • One of Newton’s teeth was sold in 1816 at an auction for approximately $3,600.
  • It was Newton who first predicted that Jews will take back Israel and the prediction turned out to be absolutely correct!
  • The story that a falling apple inspired Newton to think about gravitational pull was first recorded by the French writer Voltaire.
  • When Newton was a young boy, his mother tried to pressurize him to become a farmer. However he was so bad at farming that she reluctantly sent him to college to study.
  • He was obsessed with the Bible and had calculated the date of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as April 3, 33 A.D. and the earliest date of the Apocalypse as 2060 A.D.
  • He had a secret interest in alchemy and desired to procure the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—he even wrote a 28 page treatise on the fabled stone.
  • A reclusive and secretive person, Isaac Newton has often been associated with various secret societies and fraternal orders throughout history.
  • Newton was eccentric by nature and once jammed a darning needle around the side of his eye. He was experimenting with properties of light and used himself as a guinea pig in order to find out whether the eyes were responsible for collecting light or creating it.

Lessons to learn from Isaac Newton

  • Thinking and Thinking
    “If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.” We don’t spend enough time patiently thinking! Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Most people don’t think, they only complain about issues; thinking is what will help bring out that creativity in you. This generation is too busy to think; the ones that set out time to think always thrive in their call.
  • Seek Knowledge
    What you know will always keep you ahead of your peers. Isaac Newton is always studying, reading, making research, and asking question to know more about things. He was very observant and would normally look into what others won’t look at twice. The Holy Bible says my people perish due to lack of knowledge. What you know will keep you ahead and make you standout in life.
  • Very Inquisitive and Strongly believing in impossibility
    Sir Isaac was very inquisitive, he always wanted to know why things are the way they are and why things function the way they do. His inquisitive nature also made him to believe that there is nothing that is impossible. This nature of his made him creative in his time.
  • A Solution Provider
    He was always looking for a way out of a problem or difficulty and not just sitting and complaining like many others. He was not one that practiced the blame game, he rather moved beyond what he was taught in school which was to always look for a way out to a challenge. He spent time a lot with the problem not complaining about it but looking for a way out.
  • He chose Passion Not Cash
    His motivating factor in life was not money or the fame, but he was passionate about research and always wanting to know why things are the way they are and how to make them better. Many young people chase some careers or go after some businesses just because of money, well it’s not bad but such people won’t go far. Passion is a fuel that energizes us in our life pursuit so don’t just go for cash alone but let your passion be there. You are not called to solve all problems but to solve the problem you are passionate about.

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Saleh Victor
Saleh Victor is is a leadership and personal development coach a relationship expert writer, an innovative story teller, a blogger, and an online entrepreneur. He runs a podcast channel where he inspires people against mediocrity and becoming leaders in their sphere. Victor is a young man with passion for change and transformation, he wants to affect so many lives as he can by making ordinary men become extraordinary achievers in life.



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