He went to a university that was somewhat backward compared to the others, but he became the best mathematician of his time because of his education. In the same way, he established the Royal Society of London’s fame and renown today, and he postulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation at the age of 23. We aroused your curiosity for what reason? Don’t miss anything by continuing to read this biography of Isaac Newton.

Summary of Isaac Newton’s life

The index

  • The lonely childhood of a future genius

  • Cambridge University is an unknown institution

  • Self-taught Isaac Newton

  • Color theory of Isaac Newton

  • A journey from fame to confinement

  • It’s time for Isaac Newton to return to science!

  • Halley and a comet: The great inspiration

  • The hypotheses are not framed by me, gentlemen

  • Newton’s power and suspicion

Future genius’s lonely childhood

Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lincolnshire (England). Even though the date corresponded to December 25, 1642, according to the Julian calendar. He was the eldest child of Hannah Ayscough and Isaac Newton Sr. Several months after his son’s birth, he had died during the English civil war.

A premature birth had a detrimental effect on Newton’s early weeks. Mother confessed that he could fit in a liter jug because he was so small. Although he grew up healthy, his personality was very detached from those around him. In particular, he felt rejected by the new husband of his mother.

Isaac Newton spent much of his childhood living with his maternal grandparents since he did not have a good relationship with his mother and stepfather. However, none of his documents mention them. If it hadn’t been for subsequent exhaustive investigations, it would not have been known that he also lived with his grandfather. One or another letter mentions his grandmother, but in a rather indifferent manner.


Isaac Newton wrote a list of his sins at the age of 19. One of them involved him confessing to threatening to burn alive his mother and stepfather. As a result of Newton’s mother’s husband refusing to raise him as a child, this hatred was well-founded.

Cambridge University is an unknown institution

Ayscough had three children from her second marriage, and when her husband died in 1653, she was forced to move to Newton’s parents’ house with them. Isaac Newton begins his studies at The King’s School in Grantham two years later. Upon his mother’s request, he was removed from the institution in 1659.

Isaac was to take over the farm at the grandparents’ house. She didn’t expect the young man to insistently refuse, claiming that he hated agriculture. Henry Stokes, a Grantham teacher, supported Newton. Hannah was persuaded by the academic that the boy had potential and should complete his studies. Professor Stokes partly financed Isaac Newton’s stay at school in this way.

Upon returning to Grantham, Isaac Newton boosted his competitive spirit to become the school’s valedictorian. In addition to building windmills and sundials, he also demonstrated his skill. After completing high school, he enrolled in Cambridge at the suggestion of an uncle who had studied there.

A self-taught young man, Isaac Newton

He did not have enough money to finance his studies, of course. In order to obtain grants from the institute, he had to perform certain menial tasks within the university. At some British universities, these types of scholarship holders were called sizars. At the age of 18, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge.

During his years at Cambridge, Newton studied Aristotle, Descartes, and Nicholas Copernicus extensively. Nevertheless, he felt a greater affinity for the work of more recent scientists, such as Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler. It would have been quite confusing at the time to study Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Copernicus, since some of their ideas differed from those of Galileo, Kepler, and Copernicus.


It was then that the geocentric theory and its counterpart, the heliocentric theory, were being discussed. Although the latter explanation matched the observations better, it still couldn’t explain what drew celestial bodies together.

As well, shortly before completing his degree, Isaac Newton developed the basic principles of calculus, although he would not publish them until many years later. The young Newton obtained his degree in Mathematics as a result of his unquestionable numerical skills. In 1665, the university had to close temporarily due to the plague epidemic, and he did it just in time.

Newton returned to Woolsthorpe and continued his self-taught research there. At this time, and completely isolated from society, it is when he made the discoveries that would change the world completely: the integral and differential calculus, the theory of colors, and what was later called the universal law of gravitation. . Only 23 years old!

Color theory of Isaac Newton

Upon returning to Cambridge in 1667, Isaac Newton became a professor. The Lucasian Chair of Mathematics is given to her by Isaac Barrow, who had been her doctoral supervisor. With this title, he gained more prestige, and the Royal Society became interested in him as a result of his discoveries in optics (which he shared in 1670).

Newton had observed that a glass prism emits a broader spectrum of colors when light is rayed into it shortly before returning to Cambridge. It is a fairly simple and reproducible experiment. In some strange way, the prism “tinted” the light, according to the other scientists of his time. When white light entered a prism, Isaac Newton saw it break down into different colors.

Please note

Newton’s conclusions had a revealing background: when a ray of white light enters the prism, its crystals interfere with the path of light, causing it to deform. The result is that each wavelength is separated into its components. That’s right, the same ones that correspond to each color we recognize. Refraction of light is the name given to this effect.

Isaac Newton made his theories about optics and the corpuscular nature of light known this way. Several lectures were given at universities about his discovery of him to accomplish this. His famous reflecting telescope, built by himself, was presented to the Royal Society shortly thereafter, resolving chromatic aberration in refracting telescopes. Members of the society were enchanted by Newton’s invention, and they invited him to join.

Fame to confinement

There is no doubt that Isaac Newton enjoyed good popularity among scientists and academics. He began to think that exposing his ideas to the world wouldn’t be a bad idea. The major studies he had yet to uncover remained undiscovered. Newton’s corpuscular theories were severely criticized by the physicist and biologist Robert Hooke, then president of the Royal Society.

In Hooke’s view, light should be studied as a wave. In Newton’s view, refraction of light could be explained only by the fact that it behaves like small particles traveling in a straight line at high speeds. Several contemporary scientists supported Hooke’s criticisms, and Newton decided not to publicize the rest of his research.

Newton continued as a silent professor for the next ten years. His obsession with philosophy was almost as intense as his obsession with physics. Alchemy caught his attention from previous years, and he devoured a large number of books on it.

In some of his texts, which he hid well while alive, he confessed his position regarding the divine condition of Jesus Christ. Basically, Isaac Newton subscribed to a Christian heresy called Arianism, which viewed Jesus as a mere prophet.

It’s time for Isaac Newton to return to science!

Newton was comfortable with his reserved lifestyle, but a letter from his colleague and rival Robert Hooke revived his scientific concerns. Hooke wrote to him in 1679, on behalf of the Royal Society, requesting his contribution to calculating the rectilinear movement of a body attracted by another body.

Hooke explained that this attraction is caused by a force that is inversely proportional to the square of the distances. Is this concept familiar to you? As expected, Newton knew that Kepler’s elliptical movement of the planets around the sun was being investigated by his colleague.

Newton made those calculations 14 years earlier, but he was not so willing to share them with Hooke. Thus, he decided to ignore it and keep what he knew to himself. At the age of four, Edmund Halley surprised him with an unexpected visit.


It is almost symbolic that Newton’s theory of gravitation was inspired by an apple that fell from the tree. Voltaire wrote about it in a poetic essay after being told about it by Isaac Newton’s niece Catherine Barton. Contrary to popular belief, the apple never fell on his head.

Halley and a comet: The great inspiration

In a meeting of scientists, Halley heard Hooke boast that he had found the answer to Kepler’s mathematical hypothesis. Without giving credit, the rookie headed toward England’s top mathematician. Isaac Newton had the same answer as Hooke.

Halley was surprised to hear Newton speak so confidently about his mathematical conclusions. Since he had lost the calculations, he promised to provide them once he rewrote them. A year later, Newton developed his theory of gravitation in an essay he wrote titled De motu corporum in gyrum.

Halley, who came from a wealthy family, funded Newton’s research and used his influence to get the manuscript published by the Royal Society. During this time, the physicist worked on improving the support for his theories. Through the use of a comet’s path that passed very close to the earth several times, he was able to demonstrate Kepler’s laws mathematically. This is how the mythical Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica was created in 1687.

Newton’s most brilliant work, the Principia, compiled the three universal laws of motion. In these equations, which at the beginning were five, movement, rest, and forces acting on two bodies were described. As a result, Newton’s law of universal gravitation explains a wide range of phenomena, both celestial and terrestrial, that have been unexplained until now.

Please note

When Newton was in elementary school, he took many of his numerical subjects entirely in Latin. Since he had a great affinity for Latin, it is not surprising that he named his greatest discovery gravitas (‘weight’).

I do not frame the hypotheses, gentlemen

Newton’s law of universal gravitation was criticized by some scientists for including an entity in physics without an explanation. Alchemy was even compared to so-called occult sciences.

Isaac Newton responded by publishing an essay titled General Scholium in the second edition of the Principia. He explained to the scientific community that gravity was the result of the same mathematical predictions, and not him, in this document hypotheses non fingo (‘I do not mark the hypotheses’). As a result, a gap was finally defined between Aristotelian natural philosophy (or physis, in Greek, which means ‘nature’) and classical physics.

While Isaac Newton was a member of the Parliament of England for Cambridge University between 1689 and 1701, gossip claims he only spoke once to complain about the cold. After leaving Cambridge, he became director of the Royal Mint in London, leaving Cambridge to take on this new role. According to legend, here he was able to unleash all his bad character and perfectionism with excellence, persecuting and condemning counterfeiters.

Isaac Newton’s power and suspicion

The Royal Society offers Isaac Newton the presidency after Robert Hooke’s death in 1703. In two years, he becomes the first scientist to be knighted in history.

Sir Isaac Newton, now Sir Isaac Newton, attempted to erase, if possible, Robert Hooke from history by using the power granted to him by the Royal Society. Soon after Newton took over the society, many of Hooke’s essays, the only authentic portrait of him, and the instruments he built disappeared.

The astronomer royal John Flamsteed, who made the calculations that were used to calculate the comet’s path in the Principia, also didn’t escape Newton’s wrath. Seeing that Flamsteed was withholding important information from him, Newton sent Edmond Halley, Flamsteed’s enemy, to steal his work and force its publication. Due to the law’s favoring of Flamsteed, Newton decides that Flamsteed’s name should be removed from later versions of the Principia.

As president of the renowned scientific society, he also played against the German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz. Although Newton developed the numerical calculus before Leibniz, he published it much later. International scientists developed strong enmities as a result of this fact. To the end of their lives, both were plagued by ridicule, criticism, and plagiarism accusations.

In his last attempt to assert his rights, Leibniz sought mediation from the Royal Society. In an officially published report, the “impartial” committee selected by Isaac Newton himself accused Leibniz of plagiarism. After Leibniz’s death, Newton confessed to feeling great satisfaction from “breaking his heart” (to refer to the German).

Newton, who was 84 years old and single, died of kidney complications at Cranbury Park in Hampshire, England, on March 31, 1727. His wealth remained in the hands of his niece during the last years of his life, since he did not leave a will.

Among those who are buried in Westminster Abbey are Sir Isaac Newton’s remains, as well as those of JJ Thomson , Charles Dickens , Charles Darwin , Ernest Rutherford and Stephen Hawking . Just above Albert Einstein is Isaac Newton, considered to be the greatest scientist of all time, nearly four centuries after his death.

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