Sir Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727)
Sir Isaac Newton PRS MP (//; 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727) was an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics and shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the invention of infinitesimal calculus.
Newton's Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which dominated scientists' view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. It also demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies could be described by the same principles. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, and then using the same principles to account for the trajectories of comets and other phenomena, Newton removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the cosmos.
Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the many colours of the visible spectrum. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling, studied the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, and developed Newton's method for approximating the roots of a function.
Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian and, unusually for a member of the Cambridge faculty of the day, he refused to take holy orders in the Church of England, perhaps because he privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. In addition to his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton also dedicated much of his time to the study of biblical chronology and alchemy, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. In his later life, Newton became president of the Royal Society. He also served the British government as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint.