Sir Isaac Newton (1643 – 1752) was born three months after his father’s death. Three years later his mother remarried and left him on the Woolstrope estate with his grandparents. Young Newton was described as sober, silent, thinking lad who preferred the company of girls. He displayed a remarkable mechanical ability very young but his mother pulled him out of school after only five years to learn the management of his estate.
Newton was only allowed to attend school after the schoolmaster agreed to drop his fee and Cambridge’s Trinity College when he was able to work as a subsizar, an errand boy for the wealthy students. Later he secured, a position at Trinity College. His studies and experiments progressed. When his equipment proved inadequate for his research on light and astronomy, he invented the reflecting telescope, even machining his own parts.
In 1686 Newton presented the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (‘Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy’). In it, Newton revealed his laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. He spent most of his years at Cambridge as a professor of mathematics. Eventually, his genius was recognized and he became part of the scientific community and served as President of the Royal Society. (See his death mask)
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