One of the most influential scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton is a key figure in what we call the scientific revolution. His extensive work includes many areas of study, as he was a talented mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author, and physicist.
His book on “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. During his time, he also assumed that the Earth is shaped as an oblate spheroid.
Moreover, he built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a theory of color based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the colors of the visible spectrum.
His famous equations on the force of gravity and mass brought him recognition and made him one of the most recognized and studied scientists of our history. The famous tale of the apple falling over his head is believed to be just a story by various historians who doubt the incidence.
However, there are many other fascinating facts about Sir Isaac Newton as, besides being a world-renowned scientist, he was, just like the rest of us, a human being. Below you’ll find some interesting things about the life of this remarkable scientist.
Sir Isaac Newton – the man
Newton was prematurely born in 1642, the same year Galileo Galilei died, and had little to no chance of survival. His natural father had died three months earlier and his mother remarried soon after, leaving the child into the care of his maternal grandmother.
It’s known that Newton hated his stepfather and threatened to burn his house down. Throughout his life, the scientist was notorious for having a bad temper and conflicts with other people, particularly with fellow scientists Gottfried Leibniz and Robert Hooke.
Sir Isaac Newton could not stand hearing any criticism and became embroiled in a bitter row with Robert Hooke, an original member of the Royal Academy. Given that Hooke died a long time before Newton did, his work and contribution are not as remembered today.
Newton wrote prolifically on alchemy and believed that the Philosopher’s Stone (a substance which was said that would turn base metals into gold) was a key goal to attain. However, many of his writings on this subject were kept quiet as during those times some alchemy practices were punishable by death.
In the year 1696, Newton was appointed warden of the Royal Mint. He took his duties very seriously and implemented necessary measures in order to prevent corruption. As master of the Mint, he introduced a new mint ratio of silver and gold, and this eventually had the effect of putting Britain onto a de facto gold standard.
During a lifetime dedicated to studying, researching and finding answers about our environment, Newton suffered two nervous breakdowns, as he suspected that his friends conspired against him. However, his way of being led to the magnificent legacy we still see and use today.