Isaac Newton, a famous English physicist, mathematician, and natural
philosopher, was considered one of the most important scientists of all time. He gave birth to
the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century, and outlined the main principles of the
system of natural science. Newton theorized the three laws of motion, laws that explain how
objects move on Earth as well as through the universe.
Newton's revolutionary contributions
explained the physics of a large part of nature in mathematical terms,
and they suggested that
science may provide explanations for other phenomena as well.
Newton began with the laws of
motion he observed in the physical world, then used these laws to convert physics from a mere
science of explanation into a general mathematical system with rules and laws. He took known
facts and formed mathematical theories to explain them. He used his mathematical theories to
predict the behavior of objects in different circumstances, and then compared his predictions
with what he observed in experiments.
Isaac was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, in England on December 25, 1642 and died at
Kensington, London on March 27, 1727. Isaac did not have a very happy childhood as his father
died a few months before he was born. His mother later remarried someone who didn't really like
him, so young Isaac went to live on a family farm with his grandmother. He lived in Cambridge
from 1661 until 1696; in 1665 he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Cambridge.
When an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1665 temporarily shut down the University of Cambridge,
Newton returned to Woolsthorpe, his home town, where he remained for nearly two years. This
time was an intellectually rich one for Newton. During this period, he did much scientific work
in the subjects he would spend his life exploring, motion, optics, and mathematics. His three
laws of motion became the foundation of modern dynamics and from that he discovered the law of
Isaac Newton recorded his first thoughts on gravity, inspired, according to legend, by observing the
fall of an apple in an orchard. According to a report of a conversation with Newton in his old
age, he said he was trying to determine what type of force could hold the moon in its orbit
around the earth. The fall of an apple led him to think that the attractive gravitational force
acting on the apple might be the same force acting on the moon. Newton believed that this force,
although lessened by distance, held the moon in the earth's orbit.