2 ISAAC NEWTON BIOGRAPHY 950L

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1 2 ISAAC NEWTON BIOGRAPHY 950L

2 ISAAC NEWTON PHYSICS, GRAVITY & LAWS OF MOTION Born January 4, 1643 Lincolnshire, England Died March 31, 1727 London, England By Cynthia Stokes Brown, adapted by Newsela

3 Sir Isaac Newton developed the three basic laws of motion and the theory of universal gravity, which together laid the foundation for our current understanding of physics and the Universe. 2 3

4 Isaac Newton was born prematurely on January 4, He grew up with his grandparents on a farm after his father died and his mother moved away. As a child he had few playmates. He amused himself by thinking about the world around him. At school, Newton didn t play much with the other boys. Instead, he made wooden models, kites, sundials, and even a water clock. When he was 15, his mother took him out of school to become a farmer. But the director of his school recognized the boy s talents and convinced his mother to let him return to school. Newton went Cambridge University from 1661 to The university temporarily closed soon after he got his degree because people in European cities were dying from the plague. Early discoveries Newton moved back to his grandparents farm for two years. During this time, he proved that white light was composed of all colors and started to figure out calculus and universal gravitation. He did all this before he was 24 years old. Newton was on his grandparents farm when he sat under the famous apple tree and watched an apple fall to the ground. He wondered if the force that pulled the apple to the ground could extend out to the Moon and keep it in its orbit around Earth. Perhaps that force extended throughout the whole Universe. After the plague abated, Newton returned to Cambridge. He earned his master s degree and became a professor of mathematics there. His lectures bored many of his students, but he continued his own thinking and experiments. Later, he became the president of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge the top organization of scientists in England. 4 5

5 Laws of motion and gravity Newton s most important book was written in Latin; its English title was Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and was published in It proved to be one of the most influential works in the history of science. The book explained Newton s three Laws of Motion and the Law of Universal Gravitation. Newton s three Laws of Motion An object at rest will stay at rest unless a force is applied to it. An object in motion will stay in motion along a straight line unless an external force is applied to it. An object will accelerate if force is applied to it. The acceleration will happen in the direction of the force. The acceleration will be less as the object gets bigger. Newton used advanced math and observation of the heavens to develop his laws. To track the stars and planets, he used a new type of telescope that he designed and built himself. 0 3 For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. Putting these laws together, Newton was able to state the Law of Universal Gravitation: the gravitational pull between two objects decreases as the objects get farther apart. Newton s Universe was a powerful idea because it said that all objects move according to rational principles. Everything, from apples to planets, obeys the same unchanging laws. By combining physics, mathematics, and astronomy, Newton made a giant leap in human understanding of Earth and the cosmos. Calculus Newton came up with a new mathematical method for dealing with changing quantities. It is now called calculus. Newton didn t publish his method, he used it to solve problems. Later, the German scientist Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz also worked out calculus. His system was easier to use. Newton accused Leibniz of stealing his ideas, but historians now believe that each invented calculus independently. 6 7

6 Timeline of Newton s life Attends King s School at Grantham Attends Cambridge University Retreats to Woolsthorpe Manor; plague and fire in London 1687 Publication of Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy 1689 Represents Cambridge University in the parliament that passes the Bill of Rights, limiting the powers of William III and Mary II 1643 Born on January 4 at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, England Graduate studies at Cambridge 1669 Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge (the prestigious Lucasian Chair) 1696 Moves to London as Warden of the Mint, later Master of the Mint Coffee, chocolate, and tea reach London 1645 Blaise Pascal invents the first mechanical calculator During the time of Newton 1661 First bus line (horse-drawn) in Paris 1666 Académie des Sciences founded in France by Louis XIV 1664 England seizes New Amsterdam from the Dutch, renaming it New York 1662 Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge founded in London 1658 Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb begins a 49-year rule of India 1680 Dutch biologist Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek uses a microscope to view one-celled animals

7 Newton was made a knight by Queen Anne in At his death in 1727, he was buried in London s Westminster Abbey. Shortly before he died, Newton remarked: I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I 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, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me Assumes the presidency of the Royal Society until his death 1727 Dies on March 31 in London 1704 Publication of Opticks 1705 Knighted by Queen Anne English philosopher John Locke dies in Essex, England 1699 Ottoman Empire ceases its threat to Europe 11

8 Sources Christianson, Gale E. Isaac Newton. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Wills, John E. Jr. 1688: A Global History. New York and London: W. W. Norton, Image credits Portrait of Isaac Newton CORBIS Isaac Newton performing an experiment Bettmann/CORBIS Illustration from The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Isaac Newton CORBIS Articles leveled by Newsela have been adjusted along several dimensions of text complexity including sentence structure, vocabulary and organization. The number followed by L indicates the Lexile measure of the article. For more information on Lexile measures and how they correspond to grade levels: To learn more about Newsela, visit The Lexile Framework for Reading The Lexile Framework for Reading evaluates reading ability and text complexity on the same developmental scale. Unlike other measurement systems, the Lexile Framework determines reading ability based on actual assessments, rather than generalized age or grade levels. Recognized as the standard for matching readers with texts, tens of millions of students worldwide receive a Lexile measure that helps them find targeted readings from the more than 100 million articles, books and websites that have been measured. Lexile measures connect learners of all ages with resources at the right level of challenge and monitors their progress toward state and national proficiency standards. More information about the Lexile Framework can be found at

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