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Early life

Isaac Newton

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Early life

Isaac Newton was born (according to the Julian calendar in use in England at the time) on Christmas Day, 25 December 1642 (NS 4 January 1643), at Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth, a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire. He was born three months after the death of his father, a prosperous farmer also named Isaac Newton. Born prematurely, he was a small child, his mother Hannah Ayscough reportedly said that he could have fit inside a quart mug. When Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabus Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The young Isaac disliked his stepfather and maintained some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19. Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them. Newtons mother had three children from her second marriage. Although it was claimed that he was once engaged, Newton never married.

From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton was educated at The Kings School, Grantham which taught him Latin but no mathematics. He was removed from school, and by October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth, where his mother, widowed for a second time, attempted to make a farmer of him. Newton hated farming. Henry Stokes, master at the Kings School, persuaded his mother to send him back to school so that he might complete his education. Motivated partly by a desire for revenge against a schoolyard bully, he became the top ranked student, distinguishing himself mainly by building sundials and models of windmills.In June 1661, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, on the recommendation of his uncle Rev William Ayscough. He started as a subsizar paying his way by performing valets duties until he was awarded a scholarship in 1664, which guaranteed him four more years until he would get his M.A. At that time, the colleges teachings were based on those of Aristotle, whom Newton supplemented with modern philosophers such as Descartes, and astronomers such as Galileo and Thomas Street, through whom he learned of Keplers work. He set down in his notebook a series of Quaestiones about mechanical philosophy as he found it. In 1665, he discovered the generalised binomial theorem and began to develop a mathematical theory that later became calculus. Soon after Newton had obtained his B.A. degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student, Newtons private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics, and the law of gravitation. In April 1667, he returned to Cambridge and in October was elected as a fellow of Trinity. Fellows were required to become ordained priests, although this was not enforced in the restoration years and an assertion of conformity to the Church of England was sufficient. However, by 1675 the issue could not be avoided and by then his unconventional views stood in the way. Nevertheless, Newton managed to avoid it by means of a special permission from Charles II (see Middle years section below).His studies had impressed the Lucasian professor, Isaac Barrow, who was more anxious to develop his own religious and administrative potential (he became master of Trinity two years later), and in 1669, Newton succeeded him, only one year after he received his M.A.


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Enlightenment philosophers
Intended to become a minister
Political Interference
Apple incident
Early life
Optics
Historical and chronological studies
Laws of motion
light and color
Death
Introduction
Mechanics and gravitation
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