Who Was Isaac Newton?

Image Credit: Flickr User HikingArtist
Image Credit: Flickr User HikingArtist

Isaac had just returned from an apple orchard after spending the whole day there watching apples drop to the ground.

“Why does apple always fall downwards? Why does it not go sideways, or upwards? But constantly falls to the Earth’s center?”, He asked his grandma.

Grandma felt bad that she could not answer any of curious Isaac’s queries, and there was no one else in the house. They lived in a hamlet in Britain. Isaac’s father had died even before he took birth, and his mother had remarried and moved to another city.

“What I know is a drop, what I don’t know is an ocean. There is so much that I want to learn!”, frustrated Isaac stamped his foot and told his grandmother.

Grandmother enrolled him in a local school. “He will learn new things and make some friends”, she thought to herself. She was also worried that Isaac wasn’t very social or a friendly child.

Isaac loved school. He was particularly interested in maths, science and art. At home, his room was very colourful with sketches and painting all over the wall. Though Isaac didn’t make many friends at school, he turned out to be an excellent student. He especially liked making models of sundials and windmills.  This little Isaac was none other than Isaac Newton who discovered gravity!

Time flew, and little smart Isaac turned 19. He earned a scholarship in Trinity College, Cambridge. Today, In colleges, many students study about researches done by  famous scientists like Newton. What did Isaac Newton study? He studied about works of famous scientists like Aristotle, Kepler and Galileo. While studying in college, he discovered Calculus, a branch of mathematics that deals with rates of change and slopes of curves. This might not make much sense to you now, but Calculus has become an important part of modern maths education for grown ups. Calculus is of great help in science, engineering and economics. Can you tell the branch of mathematics that deals with shapes? Geometry!

Isaac could not forget the apple incident from his childhood. No one could still tell him why things always fell to the ground. The unanswered mystery bothered Newton so much that he took it upon him to solve it. Newton discovered that any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force. The force with which Earth pulls objects towards its centre is called gravity! We wonder whether Newton realised then that how valuable his discovery of gravity would be for mankind. It is because of him that humans have reached space.

Newton’s mind was always at work. He observed that a ray of light split into different colours when it passes through a prism – a  triangular glass object. With his experiments, he derived that the colour is a natural property of light. Light can be broken into a spectrum of colours, and a spectrum of colours can combine to make up white light again. Newton was the one who built the first practical telescope.

When Newton was 62 years of age, on one of his visits to Trinity College in Cambridge, Queen Anne of England knighted him. Since then, he is known as ‘Sir’ Isaac Newton.

The famous scientist Albert Einstein, who was born much later after Newton, once said that he admired Newton for his enormous, unmatchable scientific achievements. It is also said that he kept a photo of Newton on his table. It would not be wrong to say that Isaac Newton was indeed the most influential scientists of all times.

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