When you think of Sir Isaac Newton, you probably picture a foppish young man relaxing in the shade of a tree, getting hit on the head by a falling apple, and figuring out the laws of gravity in the space of an instant. This isn’t a total myth—Newton himself often said that he was inspired to think about gravitation by the sight of apples falling from trees, although there’s no evidence that he was actually hit by any of them—but Newton’s contributions to science go far beyond that single ‘eureka!’ moment. With his extensive knowledge of physics, astronomy, mathematics and economics, Newton was a true polymath; there’s a reason why he remains such an enduring figure nearly 300 years after his death!
Isaac Newton IS KNOWN FOR...
- Formulating the laws of motion and gravitation (Newton’s laws) that dominated scientific thought well into the 20th century
- Inventing the first functional reflecting telescope (the Newtonian telescope)
- Serving as a Member of Parliament, as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, and as President of the Royal Society
In 1667, Isaac Newton became a fellow of Trinity College Cambridge. At that time, fellows were required to be ordained as priests – a problem for Newton, who was a Christian, but a rather unorthodox one by the standards of 17th century England. In the end, Newton was granted special permission to bypass this requirement by the reigning monarch, King Charles II.
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