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Friday, December 19, 2014

Throwback Fact of the Week - Sir Isaac Newton - 12/25/14

Merry NEWTON-mas everyone! Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642, in Lincolnshire, England. Today would be his 372nd birthday!

Newton was one of the most influential and prolific scientists and mathematicians of all time. Among his numerous accomplishments were: laying the foundations of classical mechanics, which include his laws of motion; developing calculus (shared credit with Gotfried Leibniz); and various contributions to the field of optics, primarily concerning the refraction of light.

You may note that we left out (arguably) his most famous work: the formulation of the Law of Gravity. As William Stukeley, one of Newton's first biographers, put it:
"He was in the same situation, under the shade of some apple trees, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasioned by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a contemplative mood. Why should the apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself. Why should it not go sideways or upwards, but constantly to the earth's center? Assuredly, the reason is that the earth draws it."
Sir Isaac Newton
While Newton's place in history is monumental, let's not forget one of his most famous and humble quotes, "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." The slight irony is that while this is true, he himself became one of those giants on which later generations would stand and push further the boundaries of science. 

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