One of the first physicists of note, Sir Isaac Newton had a long and distinguished scientific career that has shaped and affected several science fields up until today. Born in England in 1642, Newton is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. Known namely for his work as a physicist – which at the time was known as natural philosophy – Newton’s “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” laid the groundworks for classical mechanics.
Additionally, “The Principles” also helped formulate the laws of motion and universal gravitation, whilst he himself made several breakthroughs in related fields on a range of subjects including but not limited to: space physics, tides, equinoxes and gravity. A true savant, Newton also built the first telescope which in turn led him to observe optical discrepancies off which he developed a sophisticated theory based off of spectrum-visible colours and how they interact. This was the topic of another book, “Opticks”, which was also received with quite a bit of success.
Apart from his work on physics, astrophysics and optics, Newton was also a renowned mathematician, and made several interesting forays into the field which yielded new materials – especially in calculus. It was famously said at the time that Sir Isaac’s work “distinctly advanced every branch of mathematics then studied”. As such and unbeknownst to many, Newton’s mathematical studies are still being taught today, with his vast contributions to the study of power series, binomial theorems, functions and cubic plane curves still a part of high school maths curriculum and engineering textbooks.
His works led him to become a very well respected scientist, with Sir Isaac was showered with accolades and awards throughout his distinguished career. He held two very important positions at both the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, where he did most of his work. On top of this he and was briefly involved with University of Cambridge’s parliament. Isaac Newton was knighted in 1705 by Queen Anne, and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as the Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society, England’s famed scientific community.
Newton would die in his sleep in 1727, with his funeral seeing several notable attendees. There has been speculation that his death may have been in cause due to accidental mercury poisoning after tests of his hair found large amounts of the chemical present – Newton had been doing a lot of alchemy in later life, mercury being one of the elements that he experimented with.