Happy Newton Day!

This December 25, join me in celebrating the birth of a great man.

Sir Isaac Newton, as portrayed by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1689
Three days after the Winter solstice, one of the greatest men in the history of mankind was born.

It was December 25th, 1642, when sir Isaac Newton came to this Earth.

Newton was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, theologian and one of the most influential men in human history. His “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries and is the basis for modern engineering.

Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancing the scientific revolution.

In mechanics, Newton enunciated the principles of conservation of momentum and angular momentum. In optics, he built the first “practical” reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into a visible spectrum. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound.

In mathematics, Newton shares the credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of the differential and integral calculus. He also demonstrated the generalized binomial theorem, developed the so-called “Newton’s method” for approximating the zeroes of a function, and contributed to the study of power series.

Newton’s stature among scientists remains at the very top rank, as demonstrated by a 2005 survey of scientists in Britain’s Royal Society asking who had the greater effect on the history of science, Newton was deemed more influential than Albert Einstein.

A truly great man.

This December 25, I invite you to join me in remembering and celebrating Sir Isaac Newton, on this day of secular jubilee.

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