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There is no doubt that Isaac Newton was one of the most revered scientists in England and all regions of the world. Isaac Newton was born in 1642 in Woolsthorpe, England to Isaac Newton and Hannah Ayscough. During his life, he had very significant contributions in mathematics, science and physics. Some of his notable inventions include the invention of calculus, experiments on white light and the characteristics of colour and the discovery of the telescope (Koyré, 1965). Newton widely changed various aspects of physical science when he advanced the law of gravitation and the theories of motion. Isaac also published a book known as Opticks in 1704. Additionally, he discovered gravitational attraction, which has influenced several aspects of human life both in the past and in the contemporary societies. Several centuries after his death, his inventions continue to influence the field of physics, mathematical and science in general (Ohen, 1980).
As aforementioned, Isaac Newton was born was in 1642 in England to a family that was largely engaged in farming. His father died three months before his birth; therefore, he did not see his father. His mother was remarried when Newton was approximately three years old after which she went to stay with the new husband but Newton was comfortable staying with the grandmother (Koyré, 1965). Newton later attended Kings School, Graham in Lincolnshire where is believed that he was among the brightest students. However, his studies were interrupted when his mother took him out of school and consigned him to the job of looking after the farm. He worked as a farmer for sometime before going back to school, after the intervention of his head teacher. He later completed his studies and passed highly, and was accorded the opportunity of joining Trinity College, Cambridge in 1957 (Koyré, 1965).
Newton at Cambridge
In 1661, aged 19 years, Newton enrolled at Trinity College in Cambridge and while at Cambridge he had the opportunity to pursue and further his interests in science, mathematics and physics. During his time at Cambridge, education was dominated by the concepts and ideas of Aristotle but he was more interested with scientists or mathematicians such as Descartes, John Wallis and other famous mathematicians (Koyré, 1965). Newton had the extraordinary and phenomenal ability of focusing on specific mathematical problems and until he was able to unravel the mystery that lied behind them. His studiousness at times made him to de detached from the mainstream society as he concentrated on his work to unravel various issues. Some of the effects of his studiousness are evident in the fact that he had very little or no time for women. In fact, his early attempts at romance did not bear fruit and he remained single for his entire life (Koyré, 1965).
Newton had numerous inventions and discoveries that can be traced in the fields of mathematics, physics and other physical sciences.
In the field of mathematics, Isaac Newton is celebrated for inventing integral calculus. In addition, he worked closely with Leibnitz in the invention of differential calculus. Research suggest the he developed his interest in the field of mathematics in the year 1963 when he was unable to understand the intricate mathematical principles in an astrological book that he was reading. This prompted him to study trigonometry and Euclid's Elements. Further, research suggests that his interests in mathematics were enhanced while he was an undergraduate at Cambridge where he was acquainted with works from Descartes, John Wallis and other famous mathematicians (Stewart, 2009).
Specifically, Newton is recognized for advancing the generalized binomial theorem. Even though he is not credited for being the first individual to aptly describe the formula used in binomial expansion or multiplying the various expressions of the formula, he established the formula for (a+b) n which had the advantage and potential of working with all the mathematical values of n, including the negatives and decimals (Stewart ,2009).
(a+b)n = an + nan-1b + [n(n-1)an-2b2] / 2! + [n(n-1)(n-2)an-3b3] / 3! + . . . + bn
Through this formula, -1<n<1, calculations that result from this formula are infinite and converging in nature. Through the binomial theorem, Newton recognised the availability infinite series and the concept of limit and this leveraged his invention of the calculus. Newton also initiated the inverse and direct methods of fluxions. Ideally, the fluxional calculus refers to the system or method of interpreting flowing or changing quantities. Fluxions refer to qualities that are always changing such as length, area and distance (Stewart, 2009).
Newton's inventions and discoveries in mathematics occurred between 1964 and 1969. Even through other mathematicians before him had expressed or outlined other essentials of calculus, Newton fashioned and integrated the various insights and eventually established more accurate and elaborate methods. He later used inventions in mathematics to explain his gravitational theory and the movement of the planets. In fact, without the insights and discoveries that he made in calculus he could not have been able to advance his three laws of motion and his gravitational law (Eves, 1976).
Isaac Newton tremendously influenced several aspects in the study of astronomy. He defined, elaborated and interpreted the laws of motion and gravitational force, which he later used to predict the revolution or motion of the planets around the sun. When he outlined the laws on gravitation, he became very famous and he was celebrated in most parts of Europe. Using his inventions in optics, he developed the foremost reflecting telescope (Koyré, 1965).
Newton developed interests in optics while he was in Cambridge and it is believed that this was the initial area of study that challenged his. Before his discoveries, the predominant ideas regarding light were based on the finding and views of Aristotle. Aristotle held that white light was the major form of light and all other colours were secondary, a notion that was widely disputed by Newton. Essentially, Newton begun his works and experiments on optics in 1664 and he conducted several experiments using prisms and light.
He established that white light is actually a mixture of all other colours (Koyré, 1965). He conducted his initial experiment in optics in a dark room with a small hole in the wall, which acted as a source of light. The resultant beam of light passed through a prism and the initial white light was refracted into different colours. Newton repeated the experiment using one of the colours of the spectrum and passed it through a prism. The beam passed through the prism without any notable refraction. This experimented established that light is made up of many colours. This idea has been used over the years to identify and isolate substances that produce light (Ohen, 1980).
Newton is widely perceived as a major authority in science and mathematics in particular. This perception is underlined by the fact that his mathematical and scientific achievements have continued to influence various aspects of life. He died in March 20th, 1729 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.