Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most influential scientists of all time. He came up with numerous theories and contributed ideas to many different fields including physics, mathematics and philosophy.
Born in England, Isaac Newton was a highly influential physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, alchemist and theologian. In 1687, Newton published Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, what is widely regarded to be one of the important books in the history of science. In it he describes universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, concepts that remained at the forefront of science for centuries after.
Newton’s law of universal gravitation describes the gravitational attraction between bodies with mass, the earth and moon for example.
Newton’s three laws of motion relate the forces acting on a body to its motion. The first is the law of inertia, it states that ‘every object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force’. The second is commonly stated as ‘force equals mass times acceleration’, or F = ma. The third and final law is commonly known as ‘to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’.
Other significant work by Newton includes the principles of conservation related to momentum and angular momentum, the refraction of light, an empirical law of cooling, the building of the first practical telescope and much more.
Newton was known to have said that his work on formulating a theory of gravitation was inspired by watching an apple fall from a tree. A story well publicised to this very day.