Isaac Newton

Front Cover
Chatto & Windus, 2006 - Mathematicians - 163 pages
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is said to have made his greatest contributions to original thought in science in 1665-6 while at his parents' home in Lincolnshire escaping the Great Plague (which had closed the universities), a period of which he wrote: 'I was in the prime of my age for invention'. It was at this fruitful time that he formulated calculus, hit upon the idea of gravity and did experiments which showed that white light was made up different coloured rays.He returned to Trinity College Cambridge, where in 1699 he became Professor of Mathematics, but at first had to circulate his work privately among other scientists because no one would publish it. He was also interested in the movements of the planets and designed his own telescope; and in later life became MP for Cambridge university, Master of the MInt, and President of the Royal Society. It was not until 1704 that his researches on calculus were published. He was the author of Principia, one of the most important books in the whole history of science, in which he proved the 'laws of motion'.In keeping with his age, Newton blurred the borders between science and speculation: he was as passionate about astrology as about astronomy, dabbled in alchemy, and used the Bible to work out that the date of the earth's creation was 3500 BC.

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

A biography of Newton that is one of Ackroyd's short lives series. This biography is not concerned with minute detail; it is as it advertises - short. As such, it is a good selection for someone who ... Read full review

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User Review  - Devil_llama - LibraryThing

A biography of Newton that is one of Ackroyd's short lives series. This biography is not concerned with minute detail; it is as it advertises - short. As such, it is a good selection for someone who ... Read full review

Contents

A Blessed Boy
1
College Boy
15
The Apple Falls
25
The Darker Art
34
The Professor
39
A Secret Faith
48
A Taste of Fire
61
Eureka
71
The Balance is Lost
100
Matters of Coinage
108
Female Company
114
Leader of the Royal Society
119
A Battle of Wills
128
Duel of Wits
137
In Decline
143
The Last Days
149

The Great Work
80
The Public World
85
Hero Worship
91
Select bibliography
154
Index
156
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Peter Ackroyd was born in London in 1949. He graduated from Cambridge University and was a Fellow at Yale (1971-1973). A critically acclaimed and versatile writer, Ackroyd began his career while at Yale, publishing two volumes of poetry. He continued writing poetry until he began delving into historical fiction with The Great Fire of London (1982). A constant theme in Ackroyd's work is the blending of past, present, and future, often paralleling the two in his biographies and novels. Much of Ackroyd's work explores the lives of celebrated authors such as Dickens, Milton, Eliot, Blake, and More. Ackroyd's approach is unusual, injecting imagined material into traditional biographies. In The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1983), his work takes on an autobiographical form in his account of Wilde's final years. He was widely praised for his believable imitation of Wilde's style. He was awarded the British Whitbread Award for biography in 1984 of T.S. Eliot, and the Whitbread Award for fiction in 1985 for his novel Hawksmoor. Ackroyd currently lives in London and publishes one or two books a year. He still considers poetry to be his first love, seeing his novels as an extension of earlier poetic work.

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