Isaac Newton the Scientist -- Contributions to Science
Isaac Newton was the greatest scientist who has ever lived. It is, in fact, generally accepted that he is probably the greatest scientist who ever will live, since no one, no matter how brilliant, will again be in such a unique historical position.
Isaac Newton was born on Christmas day in 1642 and died in 1727. His most famous work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was published in 1687. His discoveries span all aspects of the physical world with special emphasis on experimental and theoretical physics and chemistry and on applied mathematics. He invented virtually the entire science of mechanics and most of the science of optics. During this work, he invented such mathematics as he needed or as interested him including the discipline known as calculus.
Isaac Newton the Scientist – Discoveries and Inventions
Isaac Newton was both an experimental and theoretical scientist. He personally constructed the models and machinery with which he carried out extensive experiments in chemistry and physics. For example, when he invented the reflecting telescope, he first built a brick oven. In that oven he carried out metallurgical experiments to formulate the composition of the mirror. He then made the mirror with which he constructed the telescope.
Of unequaled mental ability during his entire adult life until his death at age 85, Newton's powers are legendary. It is often told, for example, how later in his life a problem in mathematical physics posed by the great mathematician Bernoulli, was forwarded to Newton from the Royal Society. The problem, to determine the curve of minimum time for a heavy particle to move downward between two given points, had baffled the famous 18th Century mathematicians of Europe for over six months. Receiving the problem in the afternoon, Newton solved it before going to bed. Although the solution was sent to Bernoulli anonymously, he is said to have exclaimed upon reading it, "tanquam ex ungue leonem -- as the lion is known by its claw" in reference to his recognizing Newton's method.
Excerpted and rendered from the “Introduction” to: Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John, by Sir Isaac Newton (London, 1733). Reprinted by: The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, Cave Junction, Oregon (Copyright September, 1991). All Rights Reserved in the Original.
INTRODUCTION by Arthur B. Robinson, Cave Junction, Oregon (July, 1991) -- By Permission: James Fletcher Baxter, Lewisville, Texas.
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