Isaac Newton Facts
Isaac Newton Facts

33 Brilliant Isaac Newton Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published June 19, 2020
  • Isaac Newton was born prematurely and was so small that people did not expect him to live. It is estimated that he may have been born up to 15 weeks early.[1]
  • Isaac Newton's father died three months before he was born. Newton's mother married again when he was three years old, but his stepfather refused to allow him to live with them. Newton was sent to live with his grandparents.[1]
  • Isaac Newton was a stutterer. Other famous stutterers include Charles Darwin, Moses, Marilyn Monroe, and Winston Churchill.[1]
  • Newton loved to make lists. In one instance, he made a list of all his sins up to the age of 10. His dislike of his stepfather made it into the list with this entry: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them."[1]
  • Sir Isaac Newton revolutionized astronomy, mathematics, physics, and natural philosophy. He is recognized as one of the most influential intellectuals of all time and as a key catalyst for the scientific revolution.[1]
  • Isaac Newton Fun Facts
    Wise words
  • Isaac Newton was a member of the British Parliament for a year. He spoke only once, and that was to ask someone to please close the window.[1]
  • After Newton's mother became widowed a second time, she tried to make Newton into a farmer, which he hated. One of his teachers persuaded her to let him return to school.[4]
  • When Newton was bullied at school, he was determined to get revenge by making himself the number one student at the school by building models of windmills and sundials.[4]
  • After Isaac Newton died in 1727, he left behind notes, manuscripts, and correspondence that totaled over 50 million words. This is enough to create about 150 novel-length books.[2]
  • Fearing Newton would be seen as a heretic, his family and friends burned or hid some of his papers. Specifically, Newton rejected the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which was a heretical notion condemned by Catholicism, Anglicanism, and most forms of Protestantism. It wasn't until the 1960s that some of of his papers were finally published.[2]
  • Robert Hooke (a scientist known for his microscopic experiments) and Isaac Newton held a long-lasting grudge. Hooke believed Newton's theory of light was incorrect and that Newton had plagiarized some of his work and included it in Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. [1]
  • German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton had a famous argument over who discovered infinitesimal calculus. Both argued that the other had stolen his ideas. It was later determined that they had both discovered this branch of mathematics independently.[1]
  • In 1705, Queen Anne knighted Isaac Newton for his contributions to science.[3]
  • We build too many walls and not enough bridges.

    - Isaac Newton

  • Most historians believe that the story about an apple falling on Newton's head is just folklore.[1]
  • Isaac Newton was born the same year that Galileo died.[1]
  • According to Voltaire, Newton had neither passion nor weakness; he never went near any woman. According to Voltaire, "I have had that confirmed by the doctor and the surgeon who were with him when he died."[1]
  • Before Newton, the English word "gravity" denoted a serious or solemn mood. It also denoted a quality of heaviness or lightness.[1]
  • In 2010, a NASA astronaut carried a piece of Newton's apple tree aboard the space shuttle Atlantis to celebrate the 350th anniversary of The Royal Society, a scientific organization once led by Newton.[1]
  • While Newton was master of the Royal Mint, he personally tracked down and interviewed suspected criminals and had forgers executed.[3]
  • In 1669, 26-year-old Newton was appointed the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge. He was the second person to hold that position. The 17th person to hold it was Stephen Hawking, from 1979–2009.[3]
  • Newton spent much of his adult life studying alchemy, which included searching for the philosopher's stone. The philosopher's stone could allegedly turn ordinary metals (lead) into gold. He was very secretive and recorded some of his research in code.[3]
  • Newton was a professor at Cambridge for nearly 30 years. However, he showed little interest in teaching, and his lectures were not popular. Often, no one showed up at all.[3]
  • Newton lecturer
    Newton wasn't the most popular lecturer

  • Newton analyzed the Bible in an attempt to find secret messages about how the universe worked.[3]
  • Newton died on March 20, 1727, at the age of 84. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, the same place where many English monarchs and famous Britons are buried, including Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, and David Livingstone.[3]
  • Newton discovered many ideas that changed the world, such as 1) three laws of motion, 2) universal gravitation, 3) shape of the Earth, 4) optics, 5) empirical law of cooling, and 6) the notion of Newtonian fluid.[3]
  • Isaac Newton stuck a needle in his own eye. He placed the needle between the eyelid and eye and probed the backside of his eyeball to document the "light and dark colored spots," mapping his own retina.[1]
  • Newton suffered two nervous breakdowns. After the second one in 1693, he gave up scientific research and accepted a position with the Royal Mint.[3]
  • Isaac Newton was influenced by Arianism, an obscure theological notion that Jesus, while created by God, was not divine.[3]
  • Newton paid his way through school by acting as a servant to wealthy students and by starting a small loan business.[3]
  • Newton died in his sleep in London on March 20, 1727. After his death, it was found that his hair contained mercury, probably from his alchemical pursuits. His exposure to mercury poisoning may explain his eccentricity later in life.[3]
  • Newton believed he was potentially part of a line of great men who were bestowed with great and ancient wisdom. He even created a special name for himself: Jehovah Sanctus Unus, or "to Jehovah, the Holy One."[3]
  • Newtons Nickname
    A worthy nickname

  • Newton once stared at the sun with one eye for so long that he could only see reds and blues afterward. Luckily, his eye eventually recovered.[3]
  • The famous tree from which the legendary Newton apple fell is still growing at Woolsthorpe Manor today. It is over 350 years old.[3]

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