**NEWTON, SIR ISAAC (1642-1727).** â€”Natural philosopher, *b.* at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, the *s.* of a small landed
proprietor, and *ed.* at the Grammar School of Grantham and at
Trinity Coll., Camb. By propounding the binomial theorem, the
differential calculus, and the integral calculus, he began in 1665 the
wonderful series of discoveries in pure mathematics, optics, and
physics, which place him in the first rank of the philosophers of all
time. He was elected Lucasian Prof. of Mathematics at Camb. in 1669, and
a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1672, over which body he presided for
25 years from 1703. In the same year his new theory of flight was *pub.* in a paper before the society. His epoch-making discovery of
the law of universal gravitation was not promulgated until 1687, though
the first glimpse of it had come to him so early as 1665. The discovery
of fluxions, which he claimed, was contested by Leibnitz, and led to a
long and bitter controversy between the two philosophers.

He twice sat
in Parliament for his Univ., and was Master of the Mint from 1699, in
which capacity he presented reports on the coinage. He was knighted in
1705, and *d.* at Kensington in 1727. For a short time, after an
unfortunate accident by which a number of invaluable manuscripts were
burned, he suffered from some mental aberration. His writings fall into
two classes, scientific and theological. In the first are included his
famous treatises, *Light and Colours* (1672), *Optics* (1704),
the *Principia* (1687), in Latin, its full title being *PhilosophiÃ¦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica*. In the second are his *Observations upon the Prophecies of Holy Writ* and *An
Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture*. In
character N. was remarkable for simplicity, humility, and gentleness,
with a great distaste for controversy, in which, nevertheless, he was
repeatedly involved.

*Life* by Sir D. Brewster, second ed., 1855,
etc.

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