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Happy Birthday Sir Isaac

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Griff, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Given that hardly a day passes by on the Arena without a mention of Newtonian Physics then how could we not wish the genius (or was he a polymath?) many happy returns.

    Anyone who has used Google today has probably already seen their homage to the man - their first ever animated logo. However they are also quick to point out:

    (clearly having a quiet day at the office...)
  2. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Isaac Newton

    Sir Isaac Newton PRS (/ˈnjtən/;[6] 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27[1]) was an English mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made pathbreaking contributions to optics, and he shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.

    Newton's Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that dominated scientists' view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, and using the same principles to account for the trajectories of comets, the tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and other phenomena, Newton removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the Solar System and demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's theoretical prediction that the Earth is shaped as an oblate spheroid was later vindicated by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis, La Condamine, and others, thus convincing most Continental European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over the earlier system of Descartes.

    Newton also built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. Newton's work on light was collected in his highly influential book Opticks, first published in 1704. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling, made the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed a method for approximating the roots of a function, and classified most of the cubic plane curves.

    Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian, who privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and who, unusually for a member of the Cambridge faculty of the day, refused to take holy orders in the Church of England. Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of alchemy and biblical chronology, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. Politically and personally tied to the Whig party, Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge, in 1689–90 and 1701–02. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and he spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden (1696–1700) and Master (1700–1727) of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society (1703–1727).

    1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference OSNS was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
    2. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. 
    3. ^ Feingold, Mordechai. Barrow, Isaac (1630–1677), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, May 2007; retrieved 24 February 2009; explained further in Mordechai Feingold's "Newton, Leibniz, and Barrow Too: An Attempt at a Reinterpretation" in Isis, Vol. 84, No. 2 (June 1993), pp. 310–38.
    4. ^ Newton profile, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, n.4.
    5. ^ Gjertsen 1986, p. [page needed]
    6. ^ "Newton" entry in Collins English Dictionary.
  3. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Yes but......

    Have a look at Robert Hooke who was a huge influence on Newton although not mentioned as such in Wikipedia. Even Newton (who was an arrogant b*****d) said - in reference to Hooke - that "If I have seen a little farther, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants". Trouble is, Hookey sneered at self publicity and has only recently been re-discovered.

    All the best

  4. The problem with Robert Hooke was that he was a scientific genius that was living at the same time and same place as the scientific and mathematical super-genius, Isaac Newton. Hooke had just as much arrogance as Newton. Hooke often times took credit for things Newton had come up, but Hooke could not come up with proof that he did, in fact, originally think of these ideas. This is probably one reason why Newton and Hooke butted heads so much. They were both actively involved in similar scientific thought processes, competing with each other, learning from each other, but with neither one willing to acknowledge the accomplishments of the other since they were so much alike.

    Yes, Robert Hooke was brilliant, but Hooke simply didn't have the math skills that Newton did. In the end, the one with better math skills, Newton, ended up becoming the more famous genius since he could very neatly show, using his self-created mathematical method (now called the Calculus), that his theories regarding planetary motion could be proved mathematically. To say that Robert Hooke "sneered at self publicity" seems unlikely also when comparing him to Newton. Newton kept his calculus method secret for years without publishing it and Newton only published his Principia at the constant urging of Edmond Halley (of Halley's comet fame).

    I say give both Newton and Hooke their rightful place in scientific history for what they individually accomplished and what they accomplished together from their personal interactions with each other. However, when we talk about scientific geniuses in our recorded history, you will always find Newton's name above Hooke's name in any well-respected historian's analysis.
  5. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    These "parallels of genius" must occur many times throughout history;
    Evolution, there was Alfred Wallace (natural selection, speciation (Wallace effect) the same time as Charles Darwin!
    Artitistically Monet and Renoir!
    Biomechanically, Conley the same time as Spooner & Kirby!
    Amazing, even a touch spooky, isn't it.

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