Full Text

47. Newton

RICHARD S. WESTFALL


Subject Philosophy

People Newton, Sir Isaac

Key-Topics science

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631230205.2001.00050.x


Extract

Isaac Newton was born on 25 December 1642 in the hamlet of Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, about six miles south of Grantham. The posthumous and only son of Isaac Newton, père, he found himself deposited with grandparents at the age of three when his mother married a second time; he remained with the grandparents for eight years until the death of his stepfather. After successfully resisting his mother's intention that he manage the considerable estate she had inherited from the two husbands, Newton graduated from the grammar school in Grantham and enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge, in June 1661. Trinity was Newton's home for the following 35 years. He received his B.A. in 1665 and his M.A. three years later. Meanwhile he had been elected to a fellowship in the college, and in 1669, upon the resignation of Isaac Barrow, he was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. Newton did not strain himself with teaching. During his nearly 30 years as a fellow of Trinity he tutored only three students, all of them wealthy fellow commoners; he formed no perceptible bond with any of them. As Lucasian Professor, he lectured once a week during one term each year, at least early in his tenure. There is testimony that frequently no one attended the lectures, and even later, when he was famous and a connection with him was potentially valuable, only two men claimed to have heard them. He ceased ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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