Sir Isaac Newton, (1642-1727), mathematician and physicist, was one of the greatest scientific minds of all time. Sir Isaac Newton was born at on January 4th (December 25th old calendar) at Woolsthorpe, a farmstead, in Lincolnshire. Woolsthorpe is the place where he worked on his theory of light and optics. This is also believed to be the site where Newton observed an apple fall from a tree, inspiring him to make his law of universal gravitation.

He entered Cambridge University in 1661; he was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1667, and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in 1669. He remained at the university, lecturing in most years, until 1696. Of these Cambridge years, he was at the height of his creative power, he singled out 1665-1666 as “the prime of my age for invention”. During two to three years of intense mental effort, he prepared Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica commonly known as the Principia, although this was not published until 1687.

As an opponent of the attempt by King James II to make the universities into Catholic institutions, Newton was elected Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge to the Convention Parliament of 1689, and sat again in 1701-1702. Meanwhile, in 1696 he moved to London as Warden of the Royal Mint. He became Master of the Mint in 1699, an office he retained to his death. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1671, and in 1703 he became President, being annually re-elected for the rest of his life.

His major work, Opticks, appeared the next year; he was knighted in Cambridge in 1705. As Newtonian science became increasingly accepted on the Continent, and especially after a general peace was restored in 1714, following the War of the Spanish Succession, Newton became the most highly esteemed natural philosopher in Europe. His last decades were passed in revising his major works, polishing his studies of ancient history, and defending himself against critics, as well as carrying out his official duties. He never married and lived modestly, but he had a lavish funeral in Westminster Abbey.

Newton created many new theories and laws. He also conducted experiments with light and found out that normal light is made up of many colors. He used prisms to break up light into a rainbow of colors. in 1664, while still a student, Newton read recent work on optics and light by the English physicists Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke; he also studied both the mathematics and the physics of the French philosopher and scientist Rene Descartes. He investigated the refraction of light by a glass prism. Newton discovered measurable, mathematical patterns in the phenomenon of colour.

He found white light to be a mixture of infinitely varied colored rays, each ray definable by the angle through which it is refracted on entering or leaving a given transparent medium. Newton invented a new kind of telescope that used lenses. he got a great deal of criticism due to this discovery. In his book, “The Mathematical Principles” Newton describes the three laws of motion. The first is that, every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

The second is that, the relationship between an object’s mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law, the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector. The third is that, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. He became well known for theories of gravity, in which he claimed that all objects of the universe have a gravitational force that pulled other objects towards them.

An apple is pulled to the Earth’s surface just like the Earth is being pulled towards the sun. He also showed that planets move around the sun in ellipses. Newton made contributions to all branches of mathematics then studied, but is especially famous for his solutions to the contemporary problems in analytical geometry of drawing tangents to curves (differentiation) and defining areas bounded by curves (integration). Not only did Newton discover that these problems were inverse to each other, but he discovered general methods of resolving problems of curvature, embraced in his “method of fluxions” and “inverse method of fluxions”.

Newton used the term “fluxion” (from Latin meaning “flow”) because he imagined a quantity “flowing” from one magnitude to another. The discovery of calculus is often credited to two men, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, who independently developed its foundations. Although they both were involved in its creation, they thought of the basic concepts in very different ways. While Newton considered variables changing with time, Leibniz thought of the variables x and y as ranging over sequences of infinitely close values.

Leibniz knew that dy/dx gives the tangent but he did not use it as a defining property. On the other hand, Newton used quantities x’ and y’, which were fixed velocities, to find the tangent. Leibniz was very conscious of the importance of good details and put a lot of thought into the symbols he used. Newton, on the other hand, wrote more for himself than anyone else. As a result, he tended to use whatever notation he thought of on that day. As a result, much of the notation that is used in Calculus today is due to Leibniz.

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