Isaac Newton by Emily Stachowicz, World History II, PERIOD 1


Isaac Newton, who lived from 1642-1726 (or 1727, historians are not quite sure) in England, was an enlightenment thinker who helped progress society as a whole. This man helped further expand knowledge in the subjects of gravity, the color spectrum, and calculus. Because of Isaac Newton, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo's discoveries could all be brought together under one theory of motion. After studying math and physics at Cambridge University, he wrote a book called "The MathematicL Principles of Natural Philosophy" which was published in 1687. This book was considered to be the most important book in History to many historians because of the vast range of knowledge that it provided for its time.

Issac Newton's ideas contained quite a bit of information. One of his ideas was the theory of color. This theory began to take shape after Newton held up a glass prism to a strong beam of light. He began to notice that color game from the clear prism. The thought of a limit on color intrigued Isaac, and inspired him to find out if there was a range of color that people could not see. After a few experiments, he proved that there was in fact a spectrum of light not visible to human eyes because of the heat given off.

In addition to all of this, Isaac Newton questioned what force made apples fall from trees, and what force kept us all on the Earth. He knew that all physical forms of matter, including small things such as apples and larger things such as planets, were affected equally by the same forces of nature. This force of nature was known as the Law of Universal Gravitations and was associated with motion. Some of this information was included in his book under the Laws of Motion as well.

A few other ideas were brought to society's attention through Newton's efforts. This included the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound and the development of calculus. All of this information was new and caused problems with the church because they were not the first ones to tell society.

Impact of Ideas on Society


Isaac Newton believed that god created everything in the universe and set everything into motion. He compared him to a clock maker, and the universe as his clock. Issac Newton also refused holy orders. In addition to all of this, he had theories about gravity, motion, and the connections between them. Issac Newton also helped develop calculus and the color theory


Because of Newton's (and others) "rebellion" against the church, people began to think that behavior of this sort was alright. This resulted in other people going against the church. Information about gravity and motion inspired others to continue work on that topic. The concept of these two subjects were also new to society and explained why some of the things in life work the way that they do. Calculus allowed for a new form of math to grow and for more people to try to solve different problems. With Newton's color theory, people began searching for new ways to understand different light waves. All together, society's knowledge progressed because of Newton's discoveries.

impact on traditional beliefs in society

Old science:

People never truly questioned gravity. Society had no concepts for calculus. In addition, everyone thought that there is only the color that we see. People believed that the world is flat. Most people relied on the church for all information

New science:

Isaac Newton question gravity, as well as the laws of motion. He helped develop calculus. Newton conducted experiments to see if there are other colors that people cannot see. He also believed that Earth was an "oblate spheroid", or a sphere with defects. Isaac Newton wanted to find information out and confirm it instead of relying completely on the church.

Quote of Wisdom

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." -Isaac Newton

When Issac Newton said this quotation, he meant all of his knowledge has been built off the knowledge of others. The giants are the information that other people have given and discovered. This implies that knowledge is larger than man. In addition, Issac Newton specifically says "If". Meaning that he does not see himself as greater than anyone else, and that he views people to be generally on the same level on intelligence. By saying "seen further", Newton indirectly compares knowledge as a physical object or world that is visible. Knowledge being compared to something physical shows it's importance, and that the concept is so vast and important that it can become physical to some people.

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