Born on Christmas Day of 1642, Isaac Newton began his 84 year journey through life as a frail, premature infant who was already without a father. Small enough to fit in a "quarter pot", Newton was not expected to live very long. Ironiclly, as history would later reveal, this boy was to grow to become one of the greatest minds of all time. Even though he eventually overcame these physical hardhips, as a child, he was also forced to deal with an array of personal problems that would continue to affect him long into adulthood. The most painful of these occured when he was just three years old, and his mother married once again. This time, it was to a man who refused to care for a son that was not his own. Faced with a heartbreaking dilemma, Newton's mother did what most mothers couldn't possibly fathom of doing. She decided to abandon her only son and move in with her new husband. This left young Isaac overwhelmed with the agony of being rejected by his only living parent, and in the care of his grandmother. Consequently, this experience caused him to grow into a neurotic adult who walked through life with few friends.
In grammar school, Newton was considered a loner among his peers, and kept largely to himself. However, he never seemed to posess much of an interest in being social, for most of his time was devoted to his education and the study of Latin and Greek. Outside of school, he spent his free time reading, conducting his own experiments, and building miniature devices. He was a brilliant young man full of ambotion and constantly driven by his curiosity. Furthermore, these were the very assets which aided him in succeeding in his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. In the summer of 1661, he began taking courses in Latin literature and Aristotelian philosophy, but gradually dropped the project because it was clear to him that no one really cared whether or not he did the work. While his colleagues went to pubs at night, Newton turned his attention elsewhere, and focused on his studies. He read for hours each day and could always be found walking across campus deep in contemplation. Those who knew him often said that he would often neglect to sleep or eat whenever he was exceptionally intrigued with a problem. He would also conduct experiments with light, vision, and color. Then in 1664 Newton received the status of scholar at Trinity, which gave him full financial support toward four years of earning his master's degree. This honor also gave him much more freedom to pursue what he was truly interested in and, combined with his strong educational background, was about to unleash one of the most extraordinary minds in history.
For several years, Newton worked intensely on several problems and experiments, until he eventually graduated from Trinity College. These years of discovery, from 1665-1668, would later be called his"wonderful years". History tells us that during this time Newton thought up all of his theories . Even though he would continue to perfect these theories, it was still this burst of creativity that would not only direct his own research, but the future of science itself. It was also during this time that he discovered what he called the "generalized binomial theorem" in 1665, and invented calculus in 1666.
In 1668, Isaac Newton completed his master's degree Trinity. In addition, he was also elected a fellow of the college. Now he could stay for as long as he desired, with full financial support. However, this was all provided that he took a holy vow to never marry. After accepting this generous offer, as if that was not enough, he was then promoted to the title of the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics.
Furthermore, as the time marched on into the 1670's Newton's interest turned towards the world of physics, and away from mathematics. In doing this, he devoted much of his time to alchemy, and the study of the Bible, scriptures, and the early prophets. Besides being widely known for his lectures, essays, and his book Philosophiae NaturalisPrincipia Mathematica, he also invented the reflecting telescope. Then, finally, he began to publish his revolutionary works, after being encouraged to do so by his friend Edmund Halley, in 1684.
Another significant milestone in his extraordinary career, was when he received the ultimate tribute of a knighthood from Queen Anne in 1705. He continued his work until the day he died in 1727. Without a doubt, he was truly a master of his time, and will forever be remembered as one of the greatest minds that ever lived.
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Dunham, William. The Great Theorems of Mathematics. New York: John Wiely and Sons, Inc. p. 160-181.