Sir Newton

Sir Newton Forscher und königlicher Münzmeister

Sir Isaac Newton war ein englischer Naturforscher und Verwaltungsbeamter. In der Sprache seiner Zeit, die zwischen natürlicher Theologie, Naturwissenschaften, Alchemie und Philosophie noch nicht scharf trennte, wurde Newton als Philosoph. Sir Isaac Newton [ˌaɪzək ˈnjuːtən] (* Dezember / 4. Januar in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth in Lincolnshire; † März / März in​. Isaac Newton ist ein bedeutender Wissenschaftler. Wir liefern den Steckbrief zu Isaac Newton und berichten über die Gravitationslehre und Newtons Biografie. Isaac Newton wurde am in Woolsthorpe geboren und starb am ​ in London. Er wurde nach dem Tode seines Vaters geboren und wuchs bei​. Kurzbiografie, Lebenslauf, Steckbrief und Literaturempfehlungen zum britischen Naturwissenschaftler: Sir Isaac Newton.

Sir Newton

Dieses Gemälde von Sir Isaac Newton wurde von Godfrey Kneller gezeichnet und hängt in der National Portrait Gallery in London. (Bild. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in. Isaac Newton - einer der bedeutendsten Wissenschaftler aller Zeiten. Aber nicht wegen seiner wissenschaftlichen Leistungen wurde er zum.

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Immatrikulation am Trinity College der Universität Cambridge. Einflüsse seiner alchemistischen Studien auf seine Forschungen sind zweifelsohne vorhanden. Gerlinde Keller, München. Bis galt Leibniz als Erfinder; dann veröffentlichte Newtons ehemaliger Freund Fatio eine Schrift, in der er dessen Priorität behauptete und unterstellte, Leibniz habe bei einem Besuch in London Newtons Idee gestohlen.

Cabe mencionar que desde joven Newton desconfiaba de la medicina oficial y usaba sus conocimientos para automedicarse. Newton fue profundamente religioso toda su vida.

De Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre. Archivado desde el original el 10 de marzo de Consultado el 9 de marzo de Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

Thomas Nelson Inc. Micrographia , "… a system of the world very different from any yet received. It is founded on the following positions.

That all the heavenly bodies have not only a gravitation of their parts to their own proper centre, but that they also mutually attract each other within their spheres of action.

That all bodies having a simple motion, will continue to move in a straight line, unless continually deflected from it by some extraneous force, causing them to describe a circle, an ellipse, or some other curve.

That this attraction is so much the greater as the bodies are nearer. Isaac Newton , RBA, , p. Madrid: Hermida Editores.

He was against date setting for the end of days, concerned that this would put Christianity into disrepute. And the days of short lived Beasts being put for the years of [long-]lived kingdoms the period of days, if dated from the complete conquest of the three kings A.

It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner. Christ comes as a thief in the night, and it is not for us to know the times and seasons which God hath put into his own breast.

Few remember that he spent half his life muddling with alchemy, looking for the philosopher's stone. That was the pebble by the seashore he really wanted to find.

Of an estimated ten million words of writing in Newton's papers, about one million deal with alchemy. Many of Newton's writings on alchemy are copies of other manuscripts, with his own annotations.

In , after spending sixteen years cataloguing Newton's papers, Cambridge University kept a small number and returned the rest to the Earl of Portsmouth.

In , a descendant offered the papers for sale at Sotheby's. Keynes went on to reassemble an estimated half of Newton's collection of papers on alchemy before donating his collection to Cambridge University in All of Newton's known writings on alchemy are currently being put online in a project undertaken by Indiana University : "The Chymistry of Isaac Newton" [] and summarised in a book.

Newton's fundamental contributions to science include the quantification of gravitational attraction, the discovery that white light is actually a mixture of immutable spectral colors, and the formulation of the calculus.

Yet there is another, more mysterious side to Newton that is imperfectly known, a realm of activity that spanned some thirty years of his life, although he kept it largely hidden from his contemporaries and colleagues.

We refer to Newton's involvement in the discipline of alchemy, or as it was often called in seventeenth-century England, "chymistry.

Charles Coulston Gillispie disputes that Newton ever practised alchemy, saying that "his chemistry was in the spirit of Boyle's corpuscular philosophy.

In June , two unpublished pages of Newton's notes on Jan Baptist van Helmont 's book on plague, De Peste [] , were being auctioned online by Bonham's.

Newton's analysis of this book, which he made in Cambridge while protecting himself from London's infection , is the most substantial written statement he is known to have made about the plague, according to Bonham's.

As far as the therapy is concerned, Newton writes that "the best is a toad suspended by the legs in a chimney for three days, which at last vomited up earth with various insects in it, on to a dish of yellow wax, and shortly after died.

Combining powdered toad with the excretions and serum made into lozenges and worn about the affected area drove away the contagion and drew out the poison".

Enlightenment philosophers chose a short history of scientific predecessors—Galileo, Boyle, and Newton principally—as the guides and guarantors of their applications of the singular concept of nature and natural law to every physical and social field of the day.

In this respect, the lessons of history and the social structures built upon it could be discarded. It was Newton's conception of the universe based upon natural and rationally understandable laws that became one of the seeds for Enlightenment ideology.

Monboddo and Samuel Clarke resisted elements of Newton's work, but eventually rationalised it to conform with their strong religious views of nature.

Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree.

Although it has been said that the apple story is a myth and that he did not arrive at his theory of gravity at any single moment, [] acquaintances of Newton such as William Stukeley , whose manuscript account of has been made available by the Royal Society do in fact confirm the incident, though not the apocryphal version that the apple actually hit Newton's head.

John Conduitt , Newton's assistant at the Royal Mint and husband of Newton's niece, also described the event when he wrote about Newton's life: [].

In the year he retired again from Cambridge to his mother in Lincolnshire. Whilst he was pensively meandering in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity which brought an apple from a tree to the ground was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought.

It is known from his notebooks that Newton was grappling in the late s with the idea that terrestrial gravity extends, in an inverse-square proportion, to the Moon; however, it took him two decades to develop the full-fledged theory.

Newton showed that if the force decreased as the inverse square of the distance, one could indeed calculate the Moon's orbital period, and get good agreement.

He guessed the same force was responsible for other orbital motions, and hence named it "universal gravitation". Various trees are claimed to be "the" apple tree which Newton describes.

The King's School, Grantham claims that the tree was purchased by the school, uprooted and transported to the headmaster's garden some years later.

The staff of the now National Trust -owned Woolsthorpe Manor dispute this, and claim that a tree present in their gardens is the one described by Newton.

A descendant of the original tree [] can be seen growing outside the main gate of Trinity College, Cambridge, below the room Newton lived in when he studied there.

The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent [] can supply grafts from their tree, which appears identical to Flower of Kent , a coarse-fleshed cooking variety.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the scientist. For the agriculturalist, see Isaac Newton agriculturalist.

Influential British physicist and mathematician. Portrait of Newton at 46 by Godfrey Kneller , Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth , Lincolnshire , England.

Kensington , Middlesex , England. Isaac Barrow [4] Benjamin Pulleyn [5] [6]. Roger Cotes William Whiston. Main article: Early life of Isaac Newton.

Early universe. Subject history. Discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation. Religious interpretations of the Big Bang theory.

Further information: Writing of Principia Mathematica. Main article: Cubic plane curve. Main article: Later life of Isaac Newton.

See also: Isaac Newton in popular culture. Main article: Religious views of Isaac Newton. See also: Isaac Newton's occult studies and eschatology.

See also: Writing of Principia Mathematica. Newton, Isaac. University of California Press , Brackenridge, J. The Optical Papers of Isaac Newton.

Opticks 4th ed. New York: Dover Publications. Newton, I. Motte, rev. Florian Cajori. The Mathematical Papers of Isaac Newton.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The correspondence of Isaac Newton, ed. London: A. Millar and J. Nourse Newton, I.

Cohen and R. Hall and M. Isaac Newton's 'Theory of the Moon's Motion' London: Dawson. At Newton's birth, Gregorian dates were ten days ahead of Julian dates: thus his birth is recorded as taking place on 25 December Old Style, but can be converted to a New Style modern date of 4 January By the time of his death, the difference between the calendars had increased to eleven days.

Moreover, he died in the period after the start of the New Style year on 1 January, but before that of the Old Style new year on 25 March.

His death occurred on 20 March according to the Old Style calendar, but the year is usually adjusted to A full conversion to New Style gives the date 31 March Charles Hutton , who in the late eighteenth century collected oral traditions about earlier scientists, declared that there "do not appear to be any sufficient reason for his never marrying, if he had an inclination so to do.

It is much more likely that he had a constitutional indifference to the state, and even to the sex in general. The Renaissance Mathematicus.

Retrieved 20 March United Press International. Archived from the original on 5 January Retrieved 4 September London: Royal Society.

Archived from the original on 16 March Notes, No. Archived from the original on 25 February Astro-Databank Wiki. Retrieved 4 January Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London.

Bechler, ed. Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Digital Library. Retrieved 10 January A Cambridge Alumni Database.

University of Cambridge. Famous Men of Science. New York: Thomas Y. Journal for the History of Astronomy. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

March Foundations of Science. The History of the Telescope. Oxford University Press. James R.

Graham's Home Page. Retrieved 3 February Isaac Newton: adventurer in thought. This is the one dated 23 February , in which Newton described his first reflecting telescope, constructed it seems near the close of the previous year.

The Newton Project. Retrieved 6 October Turnbull, Cambridge University Press ; at p. MacMillan St. Martin's Press. December Query 8. Optics and Photonics News.

Bibcode : OptPN.. Popular Science Monthly Volume 17, July. Mathematical Papers of Isaac Newton, — Physical Chemistry: Multidisciplinary Applications in Society.

Amsterdam: Elsevier. Hatch, University of Florida. Archived from the original on 2 August Retrieved 13 August The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September Crime Fighter?

Science Friday. Retrieved 1 August Newton and the counterfeiter: the unknown detective career of the world's greatest scientist.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Historic Heraldry of Britain 2nd ed. London and Chichester: Phillimore. London: Taylor and Co. History Channel. Retrieved 18 August Isaac Newton.

Royal Numismatic Society. Cambridge Historical Journal. Georgia Tech Research News. Archived from the original on 17 February Retrieved 30 July Business Insider.

Retrieved 21 December Retrieved 23 September The London Gazette. Cartesian Empiricism. Eric Weisstein's World of Biography.

Eric W. Retrieved 30 August Retrieved 25 April A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary. Letters on England. A Philosophical and Mathematical Dictionary Containing Retrieved 11 September New York: Random House.

Janus database. At age 12, Newton was reunited with his mother after her second husband died. She brought along her three small children from her second marriage.

Newton was enrolled at the King's School in Grantham, a town in Lincolnshire, where he lodged with a local apothecary and was introduced to the fascinating world of chemistry.

His mother pulled him out of school at age Her plan was to make him a farmer and have him tend the farm.

Newton failed miserably, as he found farming monotonous. Newton was soon sent back to King's School to finish his basic education. Perhaps sensing the young man's innate intellectual abilities, his uncle, a graduate of the University of Cambridge's Trinity College , persuaded Newton's mother to have him enter the university.

Newton enrolled in a program similar to a work-study in , and subsequently waited on tables and took care of wealthier students' rooms. When Newton arrived at Cambridge, the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century was already in full force.

The heliocentric view of the universe—theorized by astronomers Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler, and later refined by Galileo —was well known in most European academic circles.

Yet, like most universities in Europe, Cambridge was steeped in Aristotelian philosophy and a view of nature resting on a geocentric view of the universe, dealing with nature in qualitative rather than quantitative terms.

During his first three years at Cambridge, Newton was taught the standard curriculum but was fascinated with the more advanced science.

All his spare time was spent reading from the modern philosophers. The result was a less-than-stellar performance, but one that is understandable, given his dual course of study.

It was during this time that Newton kept a second set of notes, entitled "Quaestiones Quaedam Philosophicae" "Certain Philosophical Questions".

The "Quaestiones" reveal that Newton had discovered the new concept of nature that provided the framework for the Scientific Revolution. Though Newton graduated without honors or distinctions, his efforts won him the title of scholar and four years of financial support for future education.

In , the bubonic plague that was ravaging Europe had come to Cambridge, forcing the university to close.

After a two-year hiatus, Newton returned to Cambridge in and was elected a minor fellow at Trinity College, as he was still not considered a standout scholar.

In the ensuing years, his fortune improved. Newton received his Master of Arts degree in , before he was During this time, he came across Nicholas Mercator's published book on methods for dealing with infinite series.

Newton quickly wrote a treatise, De Analysi , expounding his own wider-ranging results. He shared this with friend and mentor Isaac Barrow, but didn't include his name as author.

In August , Barrow identified its author to Collins as "Mr. Newton's work was brought to the attention of the mathematics community for the first time.

Shortly afterward, Barrow resigned his Lucasian professorship at Cambridge, and Newton assumed the chair.

Newton made discoveries in optics, motion and mathematics. Newton theorized that white light was a composite of all colors of the spectrum, and that light was composed of particles.

His momentous book on physics, Principia , contains information on nearly all of the essential concepts of physics except energy, ultimately helping him to explain the laws of motion and the theory of gravity.

Along with mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Newton is credited for developing essential theories of calculus. Newton's first major public scientific achievement was designing and constructing a reflecting telescope in As a professor at Cambridge, Newton was required to deliver an annual course of lectures and chose optics as his initial topic.

He used his telescope to study optics and help prove his theory of light and color. The Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope in , and the organization's interest encouraged Newton to publish his notes on light, optics and color in Sir Isaac Newton contemplates the force of gravity, as the famous story goes, on seeing an apple fall in his orchard, circa Between and , Newton returned home from Trinity College to pursue his private study, as school was closed due to the Great Plague.

Legend has it that, at this time, Newton experienced his famous inspiration of gravity with the falling apple.

According to this common myth, Newton was sitting under an apple tree when a fruit fell and hit him on the head, inspiring him to suddenly come up with the theory of gravity.

While there is no evidence that the apple actually hit Newton on the head, he did see an apple fall from a tree, leading him to wonder why it fell straight down and not at an angle.

Consequently, he began exploring the theories of motion and gravity. It was during this month hiatus as a student that Newton conceived many of his most important insights—including the method of infinitesimal calculus, the foundations for his theory of light and color, and the laws of planetary motion—that eventually led to the publication of his physics book Principia and his theory of gravity.

In , following 18 months of intense and effectively nonstop work, Newton published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy , most often known as Principia.

Its publication immediately raised Newton to international prominence. Principia offers an exact quantitative description of bodies in motion, with three basic but important laws of motion:.

Force is equal to mass times acceleration, and a change in motion i. In Newton's account, gravity kept the universe balanced, made it work, and brought heaven and Earth together in one great equation.

Among the dissenters was Robert Hooke , one of the original members of the Royal Academy and a scientist who was accomplished in a number of areas, including mechanics and optics.

Sir Newton

Sir Newton Inhaltsverzeichnis

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Isaac Newton - einer der bedeutendsten Wissenschaftler aller Zeiten. Aber nicht wegen seiner wissenschaftlichen Leistungen wurde er zum. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in. Sir Newton Newton himself Spiele Hearts And Dragons - Video Slots Online told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the Dolphin Games Download of an apple from a tree. It quickly became apparent, however, that this would be a disaster, Quote Kroatien Portugal for the estate and for Newton. Mathematics portal Physics portal. Levenson, Thomas In Newton's account, gravity kept the universe balanced, made it work, and brought heaven and Earth together in one great equation. Science also slowly came to realise the difference between perception of colour and mathematisable optics. Lucasian Professors of Mathematics. Cambridge University Digital Library. 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Newton theorized that white light was a composite of all colors of the spectrum, and that light was composed of particles.

His momentous book on physics, Principia , contains information on nearly all of the essential concepts of physics except energy, ultimately helping him to explain the laws of motion and the theory of gravity.

Along with mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Newton is credited for developing essential theories of calculus.

Newton's first major public scientific achievement was designing and constructing a reflecting telescope in As a professor at Cambridge, Newton was required to deliver an annual course of lectures and chose optics as his initial topic.

He used his telescope to study optics and help prove his theory of light and color. The Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope in , and the organization's interest encouraged Newton to publish his notes on light, optics and color in Sir Isaac Newton contemplates the force of gravity, as the famous story goes, on seeing an apple fall in his orchard, circa Between and , Newton returned home from Trinity College to pursue his private study, as school was closed due to the Great Plague.

Legend has it that, at this time, Newton experienced his famous inspiration of gravity with the falling apple. According to this common myth, Newton was sitting under an apple tree when a fruit fell and hit him on the head, inspiring him to suddenly come up with the theory of gravity.

While there is no evidence that the apple actually hit Newton on the head, he did see an apple fall from a tree, leading him to wonder why it fell straight down and not at an angle.

Consequently, he began exploring the theories of motion and gravity. It was during this month hiatus as a student that Newton conceived many of his most important insights—including the method of infinitesimal calculus, the foundations for his theory of light and color, and the laws of planetary motion—that eventually led to the publication of his physics book Principia and his theory of gravity.

In , following 18 months of intense and effectively nonstop work, Newton published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy , most often known as Principia.

Its publication immediately raised Newton to international prominence. Principia offers an exact quantitative description of bodies in motion, with three basic but important laws of motion:.

Force is equal to mass times acceleration, and a change in motion i. In Newton's account, gravity kept the universe balanced, made it work, and brought heaven and Earth together in one great equation.

Among the dissenters was Robert Hooke , one of the original members of the Royal Academy and a scientist who was accomplished in a number of areas, including mechanics and optics.

While Newton theorized that light was composed of particles, Hooke believed it was composed of waves. Hooke quickly condemned Newton's paper in condescending terms, and attacked Newton's methodology and conclusions.

Hooke was not the only one to question Newton's work in optics. But because of Hooke's association with the Royal Society and his own work in optics, his criticism stung Newton the worst.

Unable to handle the critique, he went into a rage—a reaction to criticism that was to continue throughout his life. Newton denied Hooke's charge that his theories had any shortcomings and argued the importance of his discoveries to all of science.

In the ensuing months, the exchange between the two men grew more acrimonious, and soon Newton threatened to quit the Royal Society altogether. He remained only when several other members assured him that the Fellows held him in high esteem.

The rivalry between Newton and Hooke would continue for several years thereafter. Then, in , Newton suffered a complete nervous breakdown and the correspondence abruptly ended.

The death of his mother the following year caused him to become even more isolated, and for six years he withdrew from intellectual exchange except when others initiated correspondence, which he always kept short.

During his hiatus from public life, Newton returned to his study of gravitation and its effects on the orbits of planets. Ironically, the impetus that put Newton on the right direction in this study came from Robert Hooke.

In a letter of general correspondence to Royal Society members for contributions, Hooke wrote to Newton and brought up the question of planetary motion, suggesting that a formula involving the inverse squares might explain the attraction between planets and the shape of their orbits.

Subsequent exchanges transpired before Newton quickly broke off the correspondence once again. But Hooke's idea was soon incorporated into Newton's work on planetary motion, and from his notes it appears he had quickly drawn his own conclusions by , though he kept his discoveries to himself.

In early , in a conversation with fellow Royal Society members Christopher Wren and Edmond Halley, Hooke made his case on the proof for planetary motion.

Both Wren and Halley thought he was on to something, but pointed out that a mathematical demonstration was needed. In August , Halley traveled to Cambridge to visit with Newton, who was coming out of his seclusion.

Halley idly asked him what shape the orbit of a planet would take if its attraction to the sun followed the inverse square of the distance between them Hooke's theory.

Newton knew the answer, due to his concentrated work for the past six years, and replied, "An ellipse. Upon the publication of the first edition of Principia in , Robert Hooke immediately accused Newton of plagiarism, claiming that he had discovered the theory of inverse squares and that Newton had stolen his work.

The charge was unfounded, as most scientists knew, for Hooke had only theorized on the idea and had never brought it to any level of proof. Newton, however, was furious and strongly defended his discoveries.

He withdrew all references to Hooke in his notes and threatened to withdraw from publishing the subsequent edition of Principia altogether.

Halley, who had invested much of himself in Newton's work, tried to make peace between the two men. While Newton begrudgingly agreed to insert a joint acknowledgment of Hooke's work shared with Wren and Halley in his discussion of the law of inverse squares, it did nothing to placate Hooke.

As the years went on, Hooke's life began to unravel. His beloved niece and companion died the same year that Principia was published, in As Newton's reputation and fame grew, Hooke's declined, causing him to become even more bitter and loathsome toward his rival.

To the very end, Hooke took every opportunity he could to offend Newton. Knowing that his rival would soon be elected president of the Royal Society, Hooke refused to retire until the year of his death, in Following the publication of Principia , Newton was ready for a new direction in life.

He no longer found contentment in his position at Cambridge and was becoming more involved in other issues. He helped lead the resistance to King James II's attempts to reinstitute Catholic teaching at Cambridge, and in he was elected to represent Cambridge in Parliament.

While in London, Newton acquainted himself with a broader group of intellectuals and became acquainted with political philosopher John Locke.

Though many of the scientists on the continent continued to teach the mechanical world according to Aristotle , a young generation of British scientists became captivated with Newton's new view of the physical world and recognized him as their leader.

However, within a few years, Newton fell into another nervous breakdown in The cause is open to speculation: his disappointment over not being appointed to a higher position by England's new monarchs, William III and Mary II, or the subsequent loss of his friendship with Duillier; exhaustion from being overworked; or perhaps chronic mercury poisoning after decades of alchemical research.

It's difficult to know the exact cause, but evidence suggests that letters written by Newton to several of his London acquaintances and friends, including Duillier, seemed deranged and paranoiac, and accused them of betrayal and conspiracy.

Oddly enough, Newton recovered quickly, wrote letters of apology to friends, and was back to work within a few months. He emerged with all his intellectual facilities intact, but seemed to have lost interest in scientific problems and now favored pursuing prophecy and scripture and the study of alchemy.

While some might see this as work beneath the man who had revolutionized science, it might be more properly attributed to Newton responding to the issues of the time in turbulent 17th century Britain.

Many intellectuals were grappling with the meaning of many different subjects, not least of which were religion, politics and the very purpose of life.

Modern science was still so new that no one knew for sure how it measured up against older philosophies. In , Newton was able to attain the governmental position he had long sought: warden of the Mint; after acquiring this new title, he permanently moved to London and lived with his niece, Catherine Barton.

Barton was the mistress of Lord Halifax, a high-ranking government official who was instrumental in having Newton promoted, in , to master of the Mint—a position that he would hold until his death.

Not wanting it to be considered a mere honorary position, Newton approached the job in earnest, reforming the currency and severely punishing counterfeiters.

As master of the Mint, Newton moved the British currency, the pound sterling, from the silver to the gold standard.

However, Newton never seemed to understand the notion of science as a cooperative venture, and his ambition and fierce defense of his own discoveries continued to lead him from one conflict to another with other scientists.

By most accounts, Newton's tenure at the society was tyrannical and autocratic; he was able to control the lives and careers of younger scientists with absolute power.

In , in a controversy that had been brewing for several years, German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz publicly accused Newton of plagiarizing his research, claiming he had discovered infinitesimal calculus several years before the publication of Principia.

In , the Royal Society appointed a committee to investigate the matter. Of course, since Newton was president of the society, he was able to appoint the committee's members and oversee its investigation.

Led by Descartes , philosophers had begun to formulate a new conception of nature as an intricate, impersonal, and inert machine.

Yet as far as the universities of Europe, including Cambridge, were concerned, all this might well have never happened.

They continued to be the strongholds of outmoded Aristotelianism , which rested on a geocentric view of the universe and dealt with nature in qualitative rather than quantitative terms.

Even though the new philosophy was not in the curriculum, it was in the air. He had thoroughly mastered the works of Descartes and had also discovered that the French philosopher Pierre Gassendi had revived atomism , an alternative mechanical system to explain nature.

Significantly, he had read Henry More , the Cambridge Platonist, and was thereby introduced to another intellectual world, the magical Hermetic tradition, which sought to explain natural phenomena in terms of alchemical and magical concepts.

The two traditions of natural philosophy, the mechanical and the Hermetic, antithetical though they appear, continued to influence his thought and in their tension supplied the fundamental theme of his scientific career.

He then reached back for the support of classical geometry. Within little more than a year, he had mastered the literature; and, pursuing his own line of analysis, he began to move into new territory.

He discovered the binomial theorem , and he developed the calculus , a more powerful form of analysis that employs infinitesimal considerations in finding the slopes of curves and areas under curves.

On his own, without formal guidance, he had sought out the new philosophy and the new mathematics and made them his own, but he had confined the progress of his studies to his notebooks.

Then, in , the plague closed the university, and for most of the following two years he was forced to stay at his home, contemplating at leisure what he had learned.

It was during this time that he examined the elements of circular motion and, applying his analysis to the Moon and the planets , derived the inverse square relation that the radially directed force acting on a planet decreases with the square of its distance from the Sun —which was later crucial to the law of universal gravitation.

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