Sir Isaac Newton: Quotes, facts & biography

Sir Isaac Newton contributed significantly to the field of science over his lifetime. He invented calculus and provided a clear understanding of optics. But his most significant work had to do with forces, and specifically with the development of a universal law of gravitation and his laws of motion.

Isaac Newton’s early life

Born to a poor farming family in Woolsthorpe, England, in 1642, Isaac Newton arrived in the world only a few months after his father had died. “The boy expected to live managing the farm in the place of the father he had never known,” wrote James Gleick in “Isaac Newton” (Vintage, 2004). However, when it became clear a farming life was not for him, Newton attended Trinity College in Cambridge, England. “He did not know what he wanted to be or do, but it was not tend sheep or follow the plough and the dung cart,” wrote Gleick. While there, he took interest in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy. After his graduation, he began to teach at the college, and was appointed as the second Lucasian Chair there. Today, the chair is considered the most renowned academic chair in the world, held by the likes of Charles Babbage and Stephen Hawking.