Isaac Newton Facts



  • Sir Isaac Newton is one of the greatest scientists of all time. His book The Mathematical principles of Natural Philosophy is the most influential science book ever written.
  • Newton was born on December 23, 1642 in Woolsthorpe in Lincoln, England. As a boy, he often made mechanical devices such as model windmills and water clocks.
  • With his theory of gravity Newton discovered how the Universe is held together.
  • Newton said that his theory of gravity was inspired by seeing all apple fall from a tree when he left Cambridge to escape t he plague.
  • Newton invented an entirely new branch of mathematics called calculus. Independently, Leibniz also invented it.
  • Newton discovered that sunlight is a mixture of all colours (see spectrum).
  • The interference patterns from reflected surfaces (like a pool of oil) are called Newton’s rings.
  • Newton spent much of his life studying astrology and alchemy.
  • Newton never married and at times was almost a recluse. Shortly before he died in 1727 he said: seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’
  • Newton was a Member of Parliament, president of the Royal Society and master of the Royal Mint, where he found a way to make coins more accurately.
  • Isaac Newton (1642-1722) was the British scientist who first explained how gravity works. Newton’s ideas were inspired by seeing an apple fall from a tree in the garden of his home in Lincolnshire. Newton also discovered that sunlight can be split into a spectrum made of all the colours of the rainbow. Newton showed why gravity makes things fall to the ground and planets orbit the Sun. Newton realized that a planet’s orbit depends on its mass and its distance from the Sun. The further apart and the lighter two objects are, the weaker is the pull of gravity between them.
  • Newton worked out that you can calculate the pull of gravity between two objects by multiplying their mass by the square of the distance between them.
  • This calculation allows astronomers to predict precisely the movement of every planet, star and galaxy in the Universe. Using Newton’s formula for gravity, astronomers have detected previously unknown stars and planets, including Neptune and Pluto, from the effect of their gravity on other space objects.
  • Newton’s three laws of motion showed that every single movement in the Universe can be calculated mechanically.