1/4/2010 at 4:20 PM
Isaac Newton nació en las primeras horas del 25 de diciembre de 1642 (4 de enero de 1643, según el calendario gregoriano), en la pequeña aldea de Woolsthorpe, en el Lincolnshire. Su padre, un pequeño terrateniente, acababa de fallecer a comienzos de octubre, tras haber contraído matrimonio en abril del mismo año con Hannah Ayscough, procedente de una familia en otro tiempo acomodada. Cuando el pequeño Isaac acababa de cumplir tres años, su madre contrajo de nuevo matrimonio con el reverendo Barnabas Smith, rector de North Witham, lo que tuvo como consecuencia un hecho que influiría decisivamente en el desarrollo del carácter de Newton: Hannah se trasladó a la casa de su nuevo marido y su hijo quedó en Woolsthorpe al cuidado de su abuela materna.
Newton consideró, con justicia, que su descubrimiento era «el más singular, cuando no el más importante, de los que se han hecho hasta ahora relativos al funcionamiento de la naturaleza». Pero sus consecuencias inmediatas fueron las de marcar el inicio de cuatro años durante los que, como él mismo le escribió a Leibniz en diciembre de 1675, «me vi tan acosado por las discusiones suscitadas a raíz de la publicación de mi teoría sobre la luz, que maldije mi imprudencia por apartarme de las considerables ventajas de mi silencio para correr tras una sombra».
1/4/2010 at 4:28 PM
Isaac Newton was born in the early hours of December 25, 1642 (4 January 1643, according to the Gregorian calendar) in the small village of Woolsthorpe, in Lincolnshire. His father, a yeoman, had just died in early October, after his marriage in April of that year with Hannah Ayscough, from a wealthy family in another time. When young Isaac had just turned three years, her mother re-married the Rev. Barnabas Smith, rector of North Witham, which resulted in an event that decisively influence the development of Newton's character Hannah moved to the home of her new husband and her son was at Woolsthorpe in the care of his maternal grandmother.
Hate that it made him think of Newton with his mother and the Rev. Smith gives good account of it in a list of "sins" of those who incriminate at nineteen, was the number thirteen have wanted fire to his house with them inside. When Newton was twelve years old, his mother, a widow again, returned to Woolsthorpe, bringing with him a substantial inheritance that had left her second husband (and that Newton would benefit her death in 1679), and three brothers for Isaac, two girls and a boy.
A year later, Newton was put on the King's School in the nearby town of Grantham. There is evidence that in the years there he stayed at the house of the pharmacist, developed his unusual mechanical ability, he exercised in the construction of various mechanisms (the most cited is a water clock) and toys (the famous comets, tied to its tail flashlights at night to scare your neighbors). There was also a major change in his character: his initial indifference to the studies, probably arose from shyness and withdrawal, was turned into fierce competitive spirit which led him to be first class, following a fight with a fellow who emerged victorious.
A boy was "sober, silent, meditative ', which preferred to build tools, for girls to play with her dolls, to share the fun of the other boys, according to testimony from one of his female companions for children, who, when it was an old woman, claimed a relationship with Newton teenager, the only one who is known by a woman.
Sixteenth birthday, her mother did return home to begin to address matters of inheritance. However, young Isaac was not at all interested in assuming their responsibilities as a landowner, his mother advised by the teacher of Newton and his brother, agreed to return to school to prepare for university entrance.
This occurred in June 1661, when Newton was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, and enrolled as a servant, earning their support in exchange for domestic services, although their economic situation does not seem to require it as well. There he began to receive a conventional education in the principles of Aristotelian philosophy (then, the schools that excelled in the field of scientific studies were in Oxford and London), but in 1663 became interested in issues relating to research experimental nature, they studied on their own.
The result of these independent efforts were his first notes on what would become of his fluxional calculus, perhaps stimulated by some of the classes of the mathematician and theologian Isaac Barrow, however, Newton had to be considered by Barrow in 1664 to claim a scholarship and then failed to inspire any particularly favorable opinion.
By filing the great London plague of 1665, Cambridge was closed and Newton returned to Woolsthorpe. In March 1666 he rejoined the Trinity, which again stopped operations in June by the reappearance of the plague, and definitely not resumed his studies until April 1667. In a posthumous letter, Newton himself described the years of 1665 and 1666 as his "most fruitful period of invention ', in which' thinking in mathematics and philosophy more than at any other time since."
Fluxional method, the theory of colors and initial ideas on gravitational attraction, related to the permanence of the moon's orbit around the Earth, Newton's achievements were mentioned as dating from those years, and himself propagates, too late in his life relates the anecdote that his first thoughts on the law of gravity with casual observation of an apple falling from one of the fruits of your garden (Voltaire was in charge of spreading in print story, I knew from Newton's niece).
A final return to Cambridge, Newton was elected Fellow of Trinity College in October 1667 and two years later succeeded Barrow in his chair. During his first years of teaching does not seem to class activities involve any burden to him, since both the complexity of the issue as the educational system favoring absenteeism tutorial classes. At that time, Newton wrote his first systematic exposition of the calculus that were not published until later. In 1664 or 1665 had found the famous formula for developing the power of a binomial with any exponent, whole or fractional, but gave no written notice of the discovery until 1676, in two letters addressed to Henry Oldenburg, secretary of the Royal Society , the theorem was first published in 1685 John Wallis, the most important British mathematicians immediately prior to Newton, giving due priority to it in the find.
The procedure followed by Newton to establish the binomial formula had the effect of making him see the interest of infinite series for the calculus, thus legitimizing the intervention of infinite processes in mathematical reasoning and eliminating the traditional rejection of those imposed by Greek mathematics. The first substantial exhibition of his method of mathematical analysis by means of infinite series was written by Newton in 1669; Barrow met and became known the text, and Newton was to allow pressure to publication, which despite (or perhaps precisely because of this ) the statement was never printed until 1711.
Nor classroom Newton reported his mathematical results, there seems to be regarded more as a tool for the study of nature as a subject worthy of attention in itself, the chapter of science that choose to deal with in their classes was optics, which had been devoting his attention since 1666 had the idea that he had to take him to his discovery of the composite nature of light. In February 1672 the Royal Society presented its first communication on the subject, a few days after that company would have elected one of its members in recognition of his construction of a reflecting telescope. The communication of Newton brought the undisputed experimental evidence that white light was a mixture of rays of different colors, each characterized by its distinct refrangibility to pass through a prism.
Replica of Newton's telescope
Newton considered, rightly, that their discovery was "the most unique, if not more important, those who have done so far concerning the functioning of nature." But its immediate consequences were the usher in four years during which, as he wrote to Leibniz in December 1675, "I was so harassed by the discussions raised following the publication of my theory of light, I cursed my carelessness by which depart from the considerable advantage of my silence to run after a shadow.
The contrast between the obstinacy with which Newton defended its intellectual primacy where he belonged was recognized (only grudgingly admitting that others might having been anticipated) and its withdrawal innate always see him with suspicion the possibility of having to mix with common of mortals, is one of the features of his biography that best seem to justify the characterization of her as a neurotic temperament, a diagnosis that the existence of their childhood trauma has only to pay, and that has found its confirmation in other components his personality as hypochondriasis or misogyny.
The first to oppose the ideas of Newton on optics was Robert Hooke, who commissioned the Royal Society to report on the theory presented by the former. Hooke advocated a wave conception of light, compared to Newton's ideas, a new notice stipulated in 1675 that made the light a phenomenon resulting from the emission of light corpuscles by certain bodies. The bitterness of the controversy determined that Newton not to publish a treaty, containing the results of their investigations until after Hooke's death and, indeed, their Opticks not published until 1704. At the time, Newton's greatest work had already seen the light.
In 1676 Newton resigned to pursue the controversy about his theory of colors and for some years, again took refuge in the intimacy of his work on differential calculus in their interest (not private, less intense) by two subjects apparently away from sober world of his research on the nature of alchemy and biblical studies. Newton's penchant for alchemy (John Maynard Keynes called "the last of the magicians') was in line with its efforts to transcend the strictly Cartesian enforcement mechanism that reduced everything to matter and motion and come to establish the effective presence of the spiritual in the operations of nature.
Newton did not conceive the cosmos as the creation of a God who had simply legislate it away then, but as the area where the divine lived and was present, inculcating in the atoms that made the world a spirit which was the same for all and that made it possible to think of the existence of a single general principle of cosmic order. And this quest for unity in nature by Newton was paralleled by its pursuit of the original truth through the Scriptures, persecution that made him a convinced anti-Trinitarian and that surely influenced his efforts to achieve real immunity the obligation to receive holy orders to maintain his position at Trinity College.
Italian translation of the Principia
In 1679 Newton was absent from Cambridge for several months in connection with the death of his mother, and his return in November, received a letter from Hooke, then secretary of the Royal Society, in which it was Newton reestablish contact with the institution and it suggested the possibility of commenting on Hooke's own theories about the movement of planets. As a result, Newton resumed a correspondence on the subject that, over time, would lead to claims of priority in the formulation of Hooke's law of gravitational attraction, by far, its effect was to return to Newton interest by the dynamic and make him see that the path followed by a body moving under the influence of a force inversely proportional to the square of the distance, would have an elliptical shape (and not be a spiral, as he believed in principle, giving cause to be edited by Hooke).
When five years later Edmond Halley, who by then had already observed the comet that later bore his name, visited Newton in Cambridge and asked what would be the orbit of a planet if the severity diminish with the square of the distance, his response was immediate: an ellipse. Amazed by the speed with which Newton regarded a matter resolved in the clarification of which went for several months competing Hooke and Halley himself, he asked Newton how he could know the shape of the curve and got a sharp reply: "I have calculated. The distance that came between the glimpse of a truth and show by calculation marked the fundamental difference between Hooke and Newton, at the same time illuminating the meaning that the latter would give his insistent affirmation of "not pretend scenario.
Newton as the visionary artist William Blake
However, on that day of the summer of 1684 Newton could not find their calculations to show to Halley, and he had to settle for the promise that he would be sent once remade. The reconstruction, however, collided with an obstacle: to demonstrate that the attractive force between two spheres is equal to that which would exist if the masses of each were concentrated at their centers. Newton solved the problem in February 1685, after checking the validity of his law of gravitational attraction by applying to the case of the moon, the idea was born twenty years earlier, was then confirmed through precise measurement of the radius of the Earth conducted by the French astronomer Jean Picard.
The way was opened to collect all results in a treatise on the science of motion: the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). Halley's intervention in the publication of the work is not merely that of having managed to convince the author to acquiesce in, and something very meritorious case of Newton, Halley was able to weather the storm of controversy with Hooke, made sure that the manuscript was submitted in April 1686 before the Royal Society and editing it took to finish running personally the cost of printing, completed in July 1687.
Cambridge to London
The Principia paper contained the first exposition of the calculus developed by Newton, although he preferred that, in general, the book presents the foundations of physics and astronomy in the language formulated synthetic geometry. Newton was not the first to use that kind of calculation, in fact, the first edition of his book contained the recognition that Leibniz was in possession of a similar method. However, the priority dispute in which they engaged the supporters of both Newton found that deleting the reference to Leibniz in the third edition of 1726. The trigger for the controversy (orchestrated by Newton himself between racks) it was the suggestion that Leibniz could have committed plagiarism, expressed in 1699 by Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, a Swiss mathematician admirer of Newton, with whom he maintained a close friendship 1689 to 1693.
That year, Newton went through a paranoid crisis which has tried to give various explanations, among which has not failed, of course, consisting attributed to the breakdown of his relationship with the young Fatio, a relationship which, moreover not appear to take Newton to cross the iron barriers of Puritan moral code. Newton's contemporaries popularized an unlikely explanation of their disorder as a result of some of his manuscripts were destroyed in a fire, more recently there has been talk of a slow and gradual poisoning resulting from his alchemical experiments with mercury and lead. Finally, we can not overlook as a cause of depression plausible that Newton found difficulties to get public recognition beyond the strict domain of science, his pride demanded recognition and whose absence could not interpret it as a result of a conspiracy history.
Despite the difficulty in reading, Principia had made him famous in the scientific community and Newton in 1687 had been part of the committee that the University of Cambridge sent to London to oppose Catholicizing measures of King James II. But perhaps his statement was due more to its secular status of their fame, it led to his being chosen by the university as his representative in parliament formed as a result of the landing of William of Orange and the exile of James II at the end of 1688 .
His parliamentary activity, which lasted until February 1690, was developed in close collaboration with Charles Montagu, later Lord Halifax, whom he had met a few years earlier as a student at Cambridge and who was responsible for fulfilling the wishes of Newton change his academic retirement in Cambridge in public life in London. Montagu was appointed chancellor of the exchequer in April 1694 when his recoinage law was passed in 1695, gave Newton the Inspector of the Mint, was promoted to director in 1699. Lord Halifax later became the lover of the niece of Newton, although the charges obtained by him, despite accusations by Voltaire, did not have to do with it.
Bust of Newton
At the end of 1701 Newton was elected a new member of parliament representing his college, but finally resigned shortly after his professorship and his condition Fellow Trinity College, confirming a departure from scientific activity dating back, in fact, upon his arrival in London. In 1703, after the death of Hooke and once the end of the recoinage had returned the tranquility of a sinecure at the address of the Mint, Newton was elected president of the Royal Society, a position he held until his death. In 1705 he was awarded the title of Sir. Despite his hypochondria, nurtured from childhood by being a child early, Newton enjoyed good health until the last years of his life at the beginning of 1722 I had a kidney disease seriously ill for several months and in 1724 there was a new renal colic. In early March 1727 the accommodation of another stone in the bladder marked the beginning of his agony: Newton died at dawn on March 20 after refusing to receive the aid of the Church end, consistent with its abhorrence of dogma of the Trinity.