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Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727)






Isaac Newton in 1689, by Godfrey Kneller

So, who was Isaac Newton?

Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642. He was born in a small village, Woolsthorpe, in Lincolnshire. He was so small when he was born that his mother said she could put him into a large beer mug. He did not have good health when he was a baby, but grew up into one of the most famous scientists the world has known.

Isaac was looked after by his grandmother and liked his own company. He read a lot and invented small toys to amuse himself as he did not play with other children. He did not go to school until he was twelve. As the Grammar School, which was in Grantham was a long way away, he stayed with a man called Clarke, who had a chemist's shop in the town.

It seems that Isaac was on the lazy side, as he preferred to get on with making toys rather than school work. He was bullied at school and after a fight with the school bully, which Isaac won, he decided he would beat him at school work too. In a short time he reached the top of the school and then stopped working to concentrate on his inventions. When he dropped down the school order, he worked hard again until he was top. He repeated this through his school days.

After leaving school, Isaac went up to Trinity College, at the University of Cambridge in 1661, where he spent a lot of time reading and working on making scientific instruments, which included a telescope. He used this to study the movement of the planets and began to work out why they moved in particular ways. He kept his ideas to himself because he was very shy.

Isaac was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1665.