Happy Birthday Isaac Newton!

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton

Let’s wish a belated happy birthday to Sir Isaac Newton, born on January 4, 1643 by the Gregorian calendar (December 25, 1642 by the Julian calendar, which was in use in England at the time).   Newton is the father of calculus, the reflecting telescope, and spectroscopy.   He authored the law of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion.  But did you know that in 1696, Newton moved to London to become the Warden of the Royal Mint?  Working for the Mint until his death, Newton oversaw the production of the nation’s coins and sought the prosecution of counterfeiters.  You can read all about it in a book I stumbled across recently, Thomas Levenson’s Newton and the Counterfeiter : The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist. Newton became a “Sir” in 1705 when he was knighted by Queen Anne.  At his death in 1727, Sir Isaac was buried with great pageantry in Westminster Abbey.

Can’t remember what the three laws of motion are?  Look them up from home, along with a wealth of other scientific information, in the Science Online database from Facts on File.  After you read Levenson’s book, check the catalog for some others on Newton.

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