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Sir Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton was born on 25 December 1642, in Lincolnshire, England. He attended


grammar school in nearby Grantham. Beginning in 1653, he worked on the family farm but
because he showed little interest in it, he was allowed to return to his studies.

Newton enrolled at the University of Cambridge in 1661. His coursework was based on
the ideas of the ancient philosophers Plato and Aristotle. The theory of heliocentric proposed by
Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo and Johannes Kepler and the theory of atoms by René Descartes
fascinated Newton. He devoted many hours to studying them on his own.

In 1665, Newton graduated from Cambridge and returned home. For the next two years
he conducted experiments with light. He concluded that white light is a mixture of pure colours
and that light is made up of tiny particles that travel in straight lines at great speeds.

Newton also found the concept of gravity. Newton’s work showed how gravity controls
the motion of the planets. As he studied gravity and motion, Newton also made important
contributions to mathematics. In 1669, Newton became a professor at Cambridge. He taught
there until 1701. In 1703 he was elected president of the Royal Society (the most important
scientific group in England), a position he held until his death. For his many achievements,
Queen Anne made Newton a knight, which earned him the title ‘Sir”.
Sir Isaac Newton died in London on 20 March 1727 and was the first scientist to be
honoured with burial in Westminster Abbey. He was one of the great figures in the history of
science. He laid the foundations for the study of physics.

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