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Isaac Newton

(1642—1727) natural philosopher and mathematician


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(1642–1727)

English physicist and mathematician. He developed his principal theories of gravitation, optics, and mathematics in 1665 and 1666. In 1668 he made the first working reflecting telescope. Most of his findings remained unpublished for long periods, partly because of criticisms by C. Huygens and the English scientist Robert Hooke (1635–1703) of his early work on the corpuscular theory of light. However, in 1684 E. Halley persuaded him to organize his work on the celestial mechanics of the Solar System, which was published as the Principia. Newton's other major book, Opticks, was not published until 1704. It contains his corpuscular theory of light and the theory of the telescope. His greatest mathematical achievement was his invention of calculus, independently of the German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716). His profound influence on physics and astronomy is reflected in the phrase ‘Newtonian revolution’.


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Works by Isaac Newton