ISAAC NEWTON The discoverer of the law of gravitation

The great English scientist Isaac Newton was born in the little village of Woolthorpe, not far from the old university town of Cambridge, on December 25, 1642. His father, a farmer, died before his son_s birth. Little Isaac was left to the care of his mother, uncle and grandmother who sent him to school.

His neighbors watched him making various things and thought he would probably become a well-known clock maker. They thought thus because he had already made a clock which his neighbors had never heard of before. It worked by water. Isaac also made a sundial. The water clock could tell the hour in the house and the sundial outside.

When he grew older he took a considerable interest in mathematics.

Though Isaac never lost his manual skill his ability as a mathematician and a physicist was the most important in his life. His first physical experiment was carried out in 1658, when he was sixteen years old. Wishing to find out the strength of the wind during a storm, he jumped against and before the wind and by the length of his jump he could judge the strength of the wind. Thus he was searching out the secrets of nature and could find out difficult things in simple ways.

When Isaac was fourteen years old, his mother took him from school to help her on the farm at Woolthorpe, where she lived with three other children – Isaac_s brother and two his sisters. After two years working on the farm his mother sent him again to school to prepare for the University.

On June 5, 1661, Newton entered the University of Cambridge where he studied mathematics. He became famous when he made a number of important contributions to mathematics by the time he was twenty-one.

Then he began studying the theory of gravitation. In 1665, when he saw an apple fall from a tree he began wondering what force made the apple fall.

Isaac was thinking about the earth_s gravitation when the Great Plague raged in London and he was sent home from Cambridge because of this plague. In that quiet period of almost two years he finished considering his discoveries which had perhaps the most far-reaching effect in the whole history of science: the method of fluxions, decomposition of light and the law of gravitation.

As a young man at Cambridge Newton had read with great interest the writings of Galileo, he knew the geometry of Descartes, and he had already partly worked out the methods of calculus, which he called the method of fluxions. So then he began to think “of gravity extending to the orb of the moon”, as he wrote, he immediately put this idea to the test of calculation.

For some years he studied light, in which subject alone his work was enough to place him in the first ranks among men of science.

Newton performed many experiments with light and found that white light was made up of rays of different colours. He invented the reflecting telescope, which was very small in diameter, but magnified objects to forty diameters. Newton developed a mathematical method which is now known as the Binomial Theorem and also differential and integral calculus.

In 1669 he was appointed professor and began lectures on mathematics and optics at Cambridge.

Isaac Newton died in 1727 at the age of 85. He was buried with honours, as a national hero. It was the first time that national honours of this kind had been accorded in England to a man of science. Isaac was a great man who helped a lot for all world scientists.

Philosophers are often absent-minded. Isaac Newton was a great scientist but he was also a philosopher and he was often as absent-minded as his colleagues all over the world.

One day a man came to see Newton, but he was busy in his study and nobody was allowed to disturb him. Then visitor sat down in the dinning-room to wait for the philosopher. A little later Newton_s wife came in and placed a covered dish on the table, telling the visitor that it was her husband_s dinner. When she had left, the visitor lifted the cover and ate the whole boiled chicken, because he was very hungry. Now in the dish were a lot of small bones. When Newton_s wife came in again, he apologized for what he had done, but she told him not to worry because another boiled chicken is in the kitchen. While she was fetching it, Newton came into the dinning-room and lifted the cover of the dish. When he see the bones, he turned to the visitor and said with a smile, “See how absent-minded we philosopher are! I quite forgot I had already my dinner”. Then his wife came in with another dish. When the matter was explained, everybody had a good laugh.