"Monkeys like to eat bananas."

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Isaac (Sir) Newton (1642-1727) England

Newton was an industrious lad who built marvelous toys (e.g. a model windmill powered by a mouse on treadmill). At about age 22, on leave from University, this genius began revolutionary advances in mathematics, optics, dynamics, thermodynamics, acoustics and celestial mechanics. He is famous for his Three Laws of Motion (inertia, force, reciprocal action) but, as Newton himself acknowledged, these Laws weren't fully novel: Hipparchus, Ibn al-Haytham, Galileo and Huygens had all developed much basic mechanics already, and Newton credits the First Law itself to Aristotle. However Newton was also apparently the first person to conclude that the ordinary gravity we observe on Earth is the very same force that keeps the planets in orbit. His Law of Universal Gravitation was revolutionary and due to Newton alone. (Christiaan Huygens, the other great mechanist of the era, had independently deduced that Kepler's laws imply inverse-square gravitation, but he considered the action at a distance in Newton's theory to be "absurd.") Newton's other intellectual interests included chemistry, theology, astrology and alchemy. Although this list is concerned only with mathematics, Newton's greatness is indicated by the wide range of his physics: even without his revolutionary Laws of Motion and his Cooling Law of thermodynamics, he'd be famous just for his work in optics, where he explained diffraction and observed that white light is a mixture of all the rainbow's colors. (Although his corpuscular theory competed with Huygen's wave theory, Newton understood that his theory was incomplete without waves, and thus anticipated wave-particle duality.) Newton also designed the first reflecting telescope, first reflecting microscope, and the sextant.

Although others also developed the techniques independently, Newton is regarded as the Father of Calculus (which he called "fluxions"); he shares credit with Leibniz for the Fundamental Theorem of...

Newton was an industrious lad who built marvelous toys (e.g. a model windmill powered by a mouse on treadmill). At about age 22, on leave from University, this genius began revolutionary advances in mathematics, optics, dynamics, thermodynamics, acoustics and celestial mechanics. He is famous for his Three Laws of Motion (inertia, force, reciprocal action) but, as Newton himself acknowledged, these Laws weren't fully novel: Hipparchus, Ibn al-Haytham, Galileo and Huygens had all developed much basic mechanics already, and Newton credits the First Law itself to Aristotle. However Newton was also apparently the first person to conclude that the ordinary gravity we observe on Earth is the very same force that keeps the planets in orbit. His Law of Universal Gravitation was revolutionary and due to Newton alone. (Christiaan Huygens, the other great mechanist of the era, had independently deduced that Kepler's laws imply inverse-square gravitation, but he considered the action at a distance in Newton's theory to be "absurd.") Newton's other intellectual interests included chemistry, theology, astrology and alchemy. Although this list is concerned only with mathematics, Newton's greatness is indicated by the wide range of his physics: even without his revolutionary Laws of Motion and his Cooling Law of thermodynamics, he'd be famous just for his work in optics, where he explained diffraction and observed that white light is a mixture of all the rainbow's colors. (Although his corpuscular theory competed with Huygen's wave theory, Newton understood that his theory was incomplete without waves, and thus anticipated wave-particle duality.) Newton also designed the first reflecting telescope, first reflecting microscope, and the sextant.

Although others also developed the techniques independently, Newton is regarded as the Father of Calculus (which he called "fluxions"); he shares credit with Leibniz for the Fundamental Theorem of...

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