Notable Achievements of Sir Isaac Newton
Here are some key achievements and interesting facts about Sir Isaac Newton:
1. During his college years, Isaac Newton was more interested in the concepts of modern astronomers and thinkers such as Kepler, Galileo and Copernicus than what was taught in the college’s curriculum, The college’s teachings were mainly based on Aristotle’s ideas and teachings.
2. Sir Isaac Newton developed the generalized binomial theorem in 1665. After obtaining his degree, Newton spent two years studying at home as a precaution against the Great Plague. During these years, he began developing theories on the law of gravitation, optics and calculus.
3. One of the key mathematical achievements of Newton was the development of infinitesimal calculus. The calculus was also the center point of an intellectual battle between him and another mathematician Gottfried Leibniz over who had first developed the method.
Newton published few accounts of the calculus in 1693 and the full portion in 1704, whereas Leibniz published his complete papers in 1684. Newton and his supporters alleged that Leibniz had some access to Newton’s unpublished works during his London visit. This raised some questions on whether or not Leibniz’s full calculus account was based on Newton’s concept. Most modern historians and scientists believe that Leibniz did not plagiarize Newton’s works.
4. The Newtonian telescope, a type of reflecting telescope, was developed by Newton in 1668. It was the first functional telescope in the history of reflecting telescopes. Today, the Newtonian telescope is quite popular among amateur astronomers.
5. Sir Isaac Newton was one of the proponents of particle theory, which suggests that light is made up of particles and not waves.
6. He published all three books of his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (known popularly as Principia) between 1686 and 1687. These books dealt specifically with the theory of gravitation and three laws of motion. They also featured many other important studies including studies on Earth’s spheroidal figures, the precession of equinoxes, a theory on cometary orbits, the Moon’s irregular motions and much more. Interestingly, Newton’s three books were published only because of Edmund Halley’s financial aid.
7. In 1665, Sir Isaac Newton began working on a theory that white light is a combination of different colors through his popular ‘prism’ experiment.He published his observations on his discovery on the spectrum of light in his Opticks (Optics) in 1704.