Sir Isaac Newton-one of the greatest minds in history. He was an all-around genius. He was a mathematician, a natural philosopher, an inventor, and an English physicist. Some of the phenomenal things he did include studying how light reacts to reflection, formulating laws of universal gravitation and motion, and built the first ever reflecting telescope. In 1642 Isaac Newton was born into a very poor farming family in Woolsthorpe, England. When he was very young, his grandma took over and raised him. During this time, he and his grandma lived with a man who took Newton under his wing. Newton then discovered his love for chemical operations. Even though Newton was terrible at grammar and school in general, (at his school in a nearby town) he excelled when it came to using his hands.
He made sundials, model windmills, a water clock, a mechanical carriage, and flew kites with lanterns attached to their tails. At only 14, Newton’s mother had taken him out of school to continue the family farming. Since his father died before he was even born, Newton didn’t have much of a father figure to help teach him how to farm properly. Even though he was great with his hands, he was horrible at farming. The family was then persuaded to let him go to the University of Cambridge to study to become a preacher. He was accepted into Cambridge in the year of 1161. His studies included arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, astronomy, and optics. One of Newton’s professors was Isaac Barrow. The two of them clicked. Barrow could see Newton’s desire for learning. He challenged him with great passion.
When Newton was 23 he had already received his bachelor’s degree. Just that year, 1665, the very deadly Bubonic Plague (Black Death) had hit. Newton was forced to leave Cambridge. He had returned back to his home town of Woolsthorpe. He stayed there for two years to do independent studies. This is what started Newton to study the things he is known for by today. In some way, the Black Death could be considered a good thing. In the sense that if it had never happened, we wouldn’t have laws of gravity. While at home he made great progress in what we call “method of fluxions” (calculus) and this was also the time when Newton observed the apple falling from the tree.
Newton continued to stay in contact with Isaac Barrow. He sent some of this work to Barrow, Barrow then made sure Newton’s work was known to several of the leading mathematicians of Britain and Europe. Once he hit age 30, year 1675, Newton suffered a mental breakdown which continued well until 1684. During this time, he was trying to prove to a man named Hooke that particles would spiral into the center of the Earth, rather than form an ellipse. Halley, a man who was also interested in orbits; finally convinced Newton to publish his work.
Newton devoted 2 years to work on the project. The result became one of the most important and influential works on physics of all times, ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’ (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) often shortened to Principia Mathematica .The Principia didn’t show up until late summer 1687. When writing the book Newton tried especially hard to make it very difficult to read, so people wouldn’t attack his ideas.
In the early 1690’s, possibly in response to the intellectual exertion of writing the Principia, Newton suffered a period of depression. He started his work on the moon’s motions. A few years later Newton published another great book called Optics which explained the theory of light and color as well as some of his mathematic ways. In 1725, Newton moved from London to Kensington for health reasons. Two years later Newton died from health issues. Newton really changed the ways of math. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have such a high math level as we do today.