Sir Isaac Newton: The Gravity of Genius
By: Timothy Ehlinger
Sir Isaac Newton was born in 1642 on an unintended date and premature. Isaac Newton lived on a small rural farm with his mother, the two of them were well enough off and lived a simple life. Unfortunately, Isaac saw very little of his mother after that, it would not be until years later that the two would meet again. At this point, Isaac was a young boy ready for a proper education, and was sent to a local school. However, he did not pay much attention to studies and was often found to be alone and unsociable. In addition to his isolated nature as a child, Isaac Newton was often bullied because of his small stature. It was discovered later that he was a bit of a ruffian himself and frequently fought with his bullies. Newton was fairly average or even below average in his studies at a young age, and this would be the case until he met Clark who ran the apothecary. Isaac was fascinated with all the different potions and journals that lined the shelves of the shop so Clark allowed him to watch his work and let Isaac read his many books. Isaac as a young boy became wildly intrigued with Clarks work and read many of the books in the shop. One of his favorite books became The Mysteries of Nature and Art by John Bates. Shortly after, Isaac began to excel in school and quickly rose to the top of his class with his new passion for learning grew.
Years later, when Isaac turned seventeen, his mother asked him to help run the farm, This would mean all knowledge gained through the years would have been a waste. If it was not for the help of Henry Stokes, Isaac's professor, who begged for him to stay at school, Isaac would have been a farmer. Stokes understood that Isaac had potential to apply to a university and further his academic career. Newton's mother agreed begrudgingly, knowing if Isaac succeed it would be more worthwhile than being a farmhand.
In 1690, Isaac was accepted into college at Cambridge University. Unfortunately, Isaac has no financial support from his mother and so he had to work various odd jobs in order to pay for his tuition. Although he was smart and eager to learn, he spent his days alone studying in the library. Later, Isaac knew a professor Barrow, who would introduce him to the teachings of Galileo and the philosophy of motion and gravity. He also showed Isaac Kepler's Laws of planetary motion and Descartes work in algebra and geometry. This would change Isaacs's life.
Newton fell in love with mathematics, working on complex formulas thathe believed pertained to these subjects. In the year, 1664, Newton received his Bachelor's degree. His passion for math and science knew no bounds and would have grown more had certain events not taken place. Newton was forced to return to the farm due to an outbreak in the city. However, during this time he would do some of the most important work of his career. Making great strides in his research and working with laws of gravity. Isaac compiled a list of notes and sketches together but was apprehensive to publish his,In 1666 he discovered a concept called Fluxious and this would be a breakthrough in math but he still did not want to publish. With some convincing, Isaac finally published his work in De Analysi. Newton comfortable with his work, took up interests in the studies of light, color spectrum, and visible light.
With his knowledge of light, Isaac decided he could improve the telescope. He could make a telescope that worked with light rather than magnification. Word of this invention spread and caught the attention of the Royal Society. In 1671, they wanted to run a test to determine how much more effective his telescope was. After its success, Isaac was immediately voted and member and joined the society.
Newton's first ever paper openly published was about all of his work with his discoveries of light. However, this became under scrutiny by the most brilliant minds of the time, due to their own neglect of the principles. Disheartened by the negative feedback, Newton was neglectful to publish his work of calculus and other math studies that he had worked on for so many years. Newton vowed in 1676 he would never publish his work again.
Before he vowed to not publish his work, Isaac was ordained into the Anglican Church. He was convinced the doctrine of Trinity was a fraud. However, as a professor at Cambridge and an avid man of god, he could never speak against the Trinity. He never spoke these thoughts because his very basis in his quest for knowledge was based around his faith and importance of God in his life. Newton found many scientists of the day had removed God from Nature and he found this unneeded. He believed God gave certain men the capacity and the knowledge to unlock the secrets of this world and how it works. Newton also believed he was destined by God to unlock the secrets of this world. Through his vast knowledge, he wanted to discover the meaning of God through the careful analysis of text rather than through a spiritual search. He determined God had made Earth and the universe discernable to man if they would take the time to learn.
When the sudden and tragic death of his mother in June of 1679 struck, Newton had no one to turn too. He felt there was no one he could confide in or speak too. He would become a recluse for some time after and would not rejoin the academic world until he received a specific letter. Newton discussed planetary alignment theories with his academic rival, Robert Hook. When Newton appeared to understand this knowledge, many began to wonder where he gained this knowledgeable. Later Isaac would write a letter entitled On the Motion of Revolving Bodies to some scholars, who were blown away by his research. He was then asked to rewrite it in great detail so that it could be placed in the Royal Society library.
Newton was urged to write a book on his discoveries, considering how groundbreaking his information was. Newton obliged and in 1687 The principia was published detailing his work in math, science, geometry, and gravitational pulls between planets. He described the mass of the planets but he did not give a specific description of what gravity was only how it works.
With the publication of his works, Newton became one of the most famous scientists in Britain. Due to his research and advancements in math and science and his general personality, he was given a place in parliament. He would soon befriend many important politicians. In 1693 Newton had a nervous breakdown and this changed his view point forever. This affected his work as well as social standing and during this period he wrote letters to John Locke and Samuel Pepys. These letters can only be described as insane and many believed his genius had been too much for him. After a long period of time, Newton regained his salinity but would never be the same again.
Near the end of his life, in 1705 Queen Ann came to Cambridge to give Newton a great honor and knighted him Sir Isaac Newton in recognition for his work in math and science. Upon the death of Robert Hook, he became the head of the Royal Society and he released many works in science and math for the future generations. He hoped to inspire future generations to learn and discover as he had. Newton died in 1722 and was given the pomp and circumstance of a funeral fit for a king, and the Pope even composed his epitaph. Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential men in math and science field and with without his research, the world would be behind in these fields and not where it is today.