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Issac Newton, Mathemetician and Physicist

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Issac Newton the physicist and mathematician in his younger daysI do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
-Issac Newton
Issac Newton , the man who was the pioneer of the law of gravitation and the law of motion suffered from a nervous breakdown compelling him to retire from research, but that didn't deter the genius, and he went on to be the Master of the Royal Mint, President of the Royal Society and attaining Knighthood.

Lets explore the life and times of this legendary genius

His early life: Isaac Newton was born in the manor house of Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire. His father died three months before his birth. Isaac's mother Hannah Ayscough remarried Barnabas Smith the minister of the church at North Witham, a nearby village, when Isaac was two years old. The young child was then left in the care of his grandmother Margery Ayscough at Woolsthorpe. Basically treated as an orphan, Isaac did not have a happy childhood. Newton Newton's Home began his schooling in the village schools and later was sent to Grantham Grammar School where he became the top boy in the school. At Grantham he lodged with the local apothecary and eventually became engaged to the apothecary's stepdaughter, Miss Storey, before he went off to Cambridge University at the age of 19. But Newton became engrossed in his studies, the romance cooled and Miss Storey married someone else.

Life at Cambridge: In 1661, Newton entered Trinity College, Cambridge as a student who earned his expenses by doing menial work. Not much is known of his college days, but his account book seems normal enough -- it mentions several tavern bills and two losses at cards. He received his B.A. degree in 1664, the year that the bubonic plague was sweeping Europe. The colleges closed for what turned out to be two years, so Newton returned to Woolsthorpe to think.

His Phenomenal Achievements: After the breakout of plague, the college was closed and Newton returned to Woolsthorpe. During this period of 1665-1666 he remained home . This period was crowded with brilliant discoveries. He thought out the principles theory of the law of gravitation, binomial theorem, invented calculus.

Return to Cambridge: When the plague subsided and the schools reopened in 1667, Newton returned to Trinity College as a Fellow (professor), and 2 years later Dr. Isaac Barrow, Newton's teacher, resigned so Newton could become Lucasian  Professor of Mathematics. He was now 26, and from here on it was mostly downhill, at least intellectually. Newton lectured on optics and calculus and physics; he built telescopes and observed Jupiter's moons, and calculated orbits. But these areas became secondary interests. His heart was really in alchemy ("lead into gold," the forerunner of chemistry) and theology and the spiritual universe. He attempted to reconcile the dates of the Old Testament with historical dates, became very involved with astrology and attempted to contact departed "souls." In hindsight, it is easy to dismiss all of this as nonsense, but these were serious attempts of a serious man to understand the entire universe. It is unfortunate, however, that Newton devoted so little of the rest of his life to mathematics and physics. The few times he did return to these areas, he proved that he had not lost his genius. Newton's great discoveries in physics were finally published in 1687 as Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (usually just called the Principia).

Newton in his primeInterest in Politics: Newton suffered a nervous breakdown which compelled him to retire from research in 1693.The reasons for this breakdown have been discussed by his biographers and many theories have been proposed: chemical  poisoning as a result of his alchemy experiments; frustration with his researches; the ending of a personal friendship with Fatio de Duillier, a Swiss-born mathematician resident in London; and problems resulting from his religious beliefs. Newton himself blamed lack of sleep but this was almost certainly a symptom of the illness rather than the cause of it. Newton decided to leave Cambridge to take up a government position in London becoming Warden of the Royal Mint in 1696 and Master in 1699. However, he did not resign his positions at Cambridge until 1701. As Master of the Mint, adding the income from his estates, we see that Newton became a very rich man. For many people a position such as Master of the Mint would have been treated as simply a reward for their scientific achievements. Newton did not treat it as such and he made a strong contribution to the work of the Mint. He led it through the difficult period of recoinage and he was particularly active in measures to prevent counterfeiting of the coinage.
                        In 1703 he was elected president of the Royal Society and was re-elected each year until his death. He was knighted in 1705 by Queen Anne, the first scientist to be so honored for his work. He died in his sleep at the age of 85, and was buried with full national honors in West Minster Abbey.

His important achievements

Newton's accomplishments in life were many. Generally, he devoted much of his energy towards alchemy, theology, and history. . During his lifetime he was involved in the development of the calculus. It was Newton who struck upon the Laws of Motion and the Law of Gravitation. Newton's principle work was brought forth in 1687, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy); it is the first and the greatest work ever written on theoretical physics. In this work, Newton showed how his principle of universal gravitation explained both the motions of heavenly bodies and the falling of bodies on earth.

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