Sir Isaac Newton Additional Biography


Berlinski, David. Newton’s Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World. New York: Free Press, 2000.

Chappell, Vere, ed. Seventeenth-Century Natural Scientists. Vol. 7 in Essays on Early Modern Philosophers. New York: Garland, 1992. Part of a twelve-volume set of scholarly essays on seventeenth century philosophers in Europe. Contains six articles on Newton.

Christianson, Gale E. In the Presence of the Creator: Isaac Newton and His Times. New York: Free Press, 1984. This very readable biography places Newton’s life in the context of the scientific revolution.

Christianson, Gale E. Isaac Newton. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. At only 144 pages, this biography is brief but interesting study of Newton’s life. Includes bibliography and index.

Cohen, I. Bernard, and George E. Smith, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Newton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Focuses on Newton’s philosophical influence on the Enlightenment and the modern world.

De Gandt, Francois. Force and Geometry in Newton’s “Principia.” Translated by Curtis Wilson. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995. An introduction to Newton’s Principia.

Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter. The...

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0111200323-Newton.jpg Sir Isaac Newton (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Isaac Newton, the son of a Lincolnshire farmer who died before the birth of his son, showed early signs of scientific interests; as a child he made drawings of new types of windmills and of a self-propelled carriage. In 1661 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge University, where he came under the influence of Isaac Barrow, a famous professor of Greek and mathematics. During these years Newton studied Kepler’s work on optics and Descartes’s principles of geometry. During most of 1665 and 1666 he stayed away from the university because of the plague, instead studying at his family home in Lincolnshire. There he developed the binomial theorem, invented differential and integral calculus (although some authorities claim that most of the credit for the invention of the calculus should go to Barrow), computed the area of hyperbola, and began his speculations about the nature of gravity. He developed most of these speculations and published them in his first and most famous work, Principia, in 1687. When Newton returned to Cambridge in 1667, he was appointed a Fellow of Trinity College. In 1669 he began lecturing on optics and began experiments that enabled him to develop the reflecting telescope. He also, at this time, developed his theory on the transmission of light. He published this work in his Opticks in 1704.

Newton was appointed Lucasian professor in 1669, and he spent most of his subsequent life at Cambridge, lecturing, working...

(The entire section is 530 words.)


(Survey of World Philosophers)

Article abstract: Newton pioneered the science of physics, developing three laws of mechanics and a theoretical basis for the concept of gravity. He also established the idea that nature is a divinely created and operated system based on mathematical reason and order.

Early Life

Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642, to a farmer and his wife, at Woolsthorpe, just south of Grantham in Lincolnshire. His father died shortly before Newton’s birth, and when his mother remarried three years later, Newton remained at Woolsthorpe to be reared by his grandparents. He attended the grammar school in Grantham. His scientific aptitude appeared early when he began to construct mechanical...

(The entire section is 2291 words.)