Isaac Newton Biography Essay Example

Study Questions

Why did Robert Hooke and Newton become rivals?

When Newton joined the Royal Society in 1672, Robert Hooke was one of its most celebrated members, possessing a brilliant if somewhat scattered mind, that leaped from discipline to discipline and discovery to discovery. He and Newton had opposite personal temperaments and approaches to scientific research, and both craved the spotlight, so a rivalry may have been inevitable. The rivalry began when Newton presented his first paper to the Royal Society, detailing his work on the nature of light and advancing his theory that white light was a composite of all the colors of the spectrum. Hooke, who had his own ideas about the nature of light, criticized Newton's work, and Newton took offense, claiming huffily that his own discovery was "the oddest if not the most considerable detection which hath hitherto beene made in the operations of Nature," and threatening, in March of 1673, to withdraw from the Society over the quarrel. He was dissuaded from this course, but his rivalry with Hooke persisted, despite attempts to patch things up in the late 1670s. In the 1680s, with the publication of Newton's Principia, it flared anew; Hooke claimed that he had worked out one of Newton's key mathematical formulae a decade earlier. Thereafter, as Newton grew famous and Hooke slid into obscurity, the older man became embittered, and developed a loathing for his rival that endured until his death in 1703.

What was Descartes' theory of the universe? How did it differ from Newton's?

The French philosopher and scientist René Descartes declared that everything in nature, from the working of the human brain to the weather over Europe, could be explained by the motion and interaction of tiny, invisible particles that filled the universe. He applied this to the solar system to explain the motion of planets and moons: the swirling interaction of these particles, he explained, created a whirlpool-like effect of "vortices" that carried the planets around the sun. It was a logical system, but it was entirely based on supposition, since Descartes could not demonstrate the existence of his tiny particles. Newton, recognizing that such an all-encompassing scheme was unverifiable, chose to focus his energies upon what he could prove, using experiments and the iron laws of mathematics. This led to his theory of gravity, the force of attraction between objects that binds planets into their orbits, and which he proved, mathematically, in the Principia. Descartes' defenders objected that Newton had not shown how gravity worked, and that his system thus lacked the explanatory power of Descartes' vortices. Newton admitted that this was true: Descartes' model explained the "why" and "how" of everything, whereas his did not. But Descartes' vortices, however complete and philosophically satisfying, did not make mathematical sense; only gravity could be proven to be truly extant.

Name at least four phenomena that were explained with Newton's law of universal gravitation.

The law of gravity, as propounded in the Principia, had amazing explanatory power. Gravity explained why the planets orbit the sun, as well as the orbit of our moon, and of Jupiter's moons. Fifty years before, the astronomer Kepler had discovered all of these orbits to follow elliptical paths; gravity now explained why the paths took this particular shape. Gravity is also responsible for the movement of comets, which, Newton revealed, transcribed orbits around the sun just as planets did. He also discovered that the force exerted on the earth by the sun's gravity is responsible for the flattening of the earth at the poles and for the bulge at the equator. Finally, gravity explains the tides: the weak gravitational pull that the moon exerts on the earth combines with the pull of the sun to form what Newton termed a "lunisolar" effect and create the daily rhythm of the seas.

Essay Topics

State Newton's three laws of motion.

What was Edmund Halley's role in the publication of the Principia?

Discuss the clash between Newton and Gottfried von Leibniz.

What were Newton's religious beliefs? What was the role of religion in his intellectual pursuits?

What was the Royal Society? Discuss Newton's role in the organization.

Briefly, why is the year 1666 significant for Newton?

What was Newton's theory of light? How did he come to this theory?

Isaac Newton Essays Biography

Isaac Newton turned into born on Dec. 25, 1642, in Woolsthorpe, England. His father died before he become born, and when he become most effective three his mom, Hannah Newton, remarried and moved away, leaving him to be raised via an uncle. He become despatched to the nearby grammar faculty, and for a time it was predicted that he could develop up to manipulate his mother's property. however he despite the fact that endured inside the pursuit of his wider hobbies, and after leaving the grammar faculty he enrolled at Trinity college, at the university of Cambridge, in 1661. He received his bachelor of arts in 1665, and became named a fellow of the university two years later.

In the meantime, within the turbulent year of 1666, even as England fought with Holland and suffered plague and a terrible fireplace in London, Newton made 3 of his finest discoveries. inside the area of optics, the look at of mild, he evolved and proved his idea that white light consists of a combination of different colorings of light, which, whilst break up apart by means of a prism, form a band of coloration called a spectrum. This changed into a innovative improve, and equally revolutionary become his work in mathematics, in which he evolved a binomial theorem and worked out a technique of calculating the slope of curves and the place underneath them, paving the manner for the sector of math known as calculus. but his most essential innovation was the concept of gravity, the attraction between our bodies in area that holds planets, moons and comets in orbit, and draws falling items towards the earth. His concept of gravity, however, remained incomplete and unverifiable; it might not be posted for 2 a long time.

In 1669, Newton became appointed professor of arithmetic at Trinity university. In January 1672, he changed into elected to the Royal Society, a free businesses of scientists and intellectuals. quickly thereafter, he supplied a paper detailing his discoveries in optics, and evolved a contention with the scientist Robert Hooke, who harshly criticized Newton's studies. This competition might percolate for the duration of the 1670s, as Newton endured to training session the mathematics of gravity, and might flare up within the mid 1680s, when Newton finally posted his paintings, a number of which Hooke felt were stolen from him. Newton's research become organized into a three-extent book, the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical ideas of natural Philosophy"), recognised to posterity because the Principia. It set forth Newton's three legal guidelines of movement, and proceeded to set forth the idea of gravitation, and back it up with rigorous mathematical proofs. despite the fact that the principle had many detractors at the beginning, the clinical network might in the end embrace it, and the Newtonian international-view would dominate physics till the 20 th century.

Principia made Newton an English celebrity. He was elected to Parliament in 1691, and after surviving a fearful breakdown in 1693, changed into appointed warden of the mint in 1696, and master of the mint 3 years later. He was elected president of the Royal Society in 1703, upon the loss of life of Hooke, and turned into knighted in 1705. As his reputation grew, he worked to buttress his very own recognition, bringing the Society under his tight manage and carrying on a feud with the German mathematician Leibniz over the difficulty of who had advanced calculus first. Newton by no means married, and become rather pious: he dedicated his later years to the interpretation of scripture, and a strong attempt to apprehend the connection between biblical prophecy and records. He died on March 20, 1727, and become buried with super honors in Westminster Abbey.

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