About Dr. Isaac Barrow
ISAAC BARROW, the learned and pious author of the following pages, was born in October, 1630, the son of Thomas Barrow, a respected citizen of London, who was the brother of Isaac Barrow, then Lord Bishop of St. Asaph. Our author was at an early age sent to the Charterhouse School, where he made so small proficiency that he was removed to Felsted, in Essex. His contemporary biographer indeed says, that so little appearance was there of that comfort which his father afterwards received from him, that he often solemnly expressed his wish, if it should please God to take any of his children away, it might be his son Isaac. Very few years elapsed before Thomas Barrow had reason to thank God for having blessed him with a son who proved in after-life to be not only kind and and affectionate and dutiful to his father, but one of the brightest ornaments of his church and his country.
In 1653, Isaac Newton was taken from school to fulfill his birthright as a farmer. Happily, he failed in this calling, and returned to King's School at Grantham to prepare for entrance to Trinity College, Cambridge. Numerous anecdotes survive from this period about Newton's absent-mindedness as a fledging farmer and his lackluster performance as a student. But the turning point in Newton's life came in June 1661 when he left Woolsthorpe for Cambridge University. Here Newton entered a new world, one he could eventually call his own.
Although Cambridge was an outstanding center of learning, the spirit of the scientific revolution had yet to penetrate its ancient and somewhat ossified curriculum. Little is known of Newton's formal studies as an undergraduate, but he likely received large doses of Aristotle as well as other classical authors. And by all appearances his academic performance was undistinguished. In 1664 Isaac Barrow, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, examined Newton's understanding of Euclid and found it sorely lacking. We now know that during his undergraduate years Newton was deeply engrossed in private study, that he privately mastered the works of René Descartes, Pierre Gassendi, Thomas Hobbes, and other major figures of the scientific revolution. A series of extant notebooks shows that by 1664 Newton had begun to master Descartes' Géométrie and other forms of mathematics far in advance of Euclid's Elements. Barrow, himself a gifted mathematician, had yet to appreciate Newton's genius.
Isaac Barrow (October 1630 – 4 May 1677) was an English Christian theologian, and mathematician who is generally given credit for his early role in the development of infinitesimal calculus; in particular, for the discovery of the fundamental theorem of calculus. His work centered on the properties of the tangent; Barrow was the first to calculate the tangents of the kappa curve. Isaac Newton was a student of Barrow's, and Newton went on to develop calculus in a modern form. The lunar crater Barrow is named after him.
Lectiones Opticae 1669
Lectiones Geometricae 1670
Lectiones Mathematione 1683