Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tonight's Sky for December 25: Issac Newton Born (1642)

It was on this date in 1642 that Issac Newton, one of the greatest men of science, was born.

His intelligence recognized at an early age, Newton was sent to Cambridge fr a college education, which was a rarity for the non-elite at the time. It is here that one of histories greatest ironies took place. In 1665, the Plague came to London and virtually shut down the city, Cambridge included. With classes canceled, Newton returned to his home and proceeded to invent calculus, discover his 3 laws of motion, and mathematically express the law of universal gravitation. The latter two of these basically solved the 'whys' of planetary motion, which had puzzled everyone to this point. The irony in all of this: if Newton had been occupied with his intended course of study, he would never of had the time to think about such things.

Another irony: Newton's greatest achievements were already accomplished by the time he was 30. For the remaining 54 years of his life, Newton would continue working in the sciences, publishing, and even be appointed head of the Royal Mint. Newton was knighted in 1705.

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