Newton, Sir Isaac
Physicist and mathematician, born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, EC England, UK. He studied at Cambridge. In 1665--6 the fall of an apple is said to have suggested the train of thought that led to the law of gravitation. He studied the nature of light, concluding that white light is a mixture of colours which can be separated by refraction, and devised the first reflecting telescope. He became professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1669, where he resumed his work on gravitation, expounded finally in his famous Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (1687, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). In 1696 he was appointed warden of the Mint, and was master of the Mint from 1699 until his death. He also sat in parliament on two occasions, was elected President of the Royal Society in 1703, and was knighted in 1705. During his life he was involved in many controversies, notably with Leibniz over the question of priority in the discovery of calculus.