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Joanne Kwan

Sir Isaac Newton

By: Joanne Kwan
College Now Course - SCI 1

Newton was an intelligent man of science. He is well known for writing the Philosophiae Naturalis Primipia Mathematica on universal gravitation and the three laws of motion. The first law of motion states, "every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it." This means that an object will not change its path unless another object interferes with its direction. The second law, "Force is equal to the change in momentum per change in time", is simply mass equals force times acceleration. Finally, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." These concepts have been taught in eleventh grade physics and have been reinforced in the current College Now Science class. The latter, however, showed that Newton was responsible for more than defining the system of physics.

"Newton is a versatile man", said Mr. Valente, my College Now science teacher.. He was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, and philosopher. In viewing an informative television broadcasting, I learned that he was responsible for inventing calculus. Since my junior year, my high school pre-calculus teacher told the class about the influence Newton had on the subject, but I had previously not known that he was the creator of a whole new language. Not only did Newton keep his work a secret, he also made his own telescope using mirrors instead of lenses. His small and durable instrument was able to rid the problem of a strange colored glow that existed around celestial objects when observed with earlier telescopes. Through this, he defined diffraction of white light through prisms and refraction of light traveling through denser objects.

Once I learned of Newton's genius, it was easy to believe in his accomplishments. It was hard however, to find that the scientist also took part in alchemy. He was an extremely religious man who believed in experimenting with chemicals. Many times, his friends felt he had gone mad because of his change in character. No one knew about his little secret because he gave up alchemy after a long sickness. People still wonder what he was trying to discover, and where he was going with his work. Scientists research the history of Newton by reproducing his concoctions, in hope of learning more about the mysterious man.

Newton must be the single most influential and intelligent man in the history of the world. He was way ahead of his time in thought and creation. Today, we still use calculus, and teach his laws. We can use his methods as a basis to mechanics, optics, and other fields of study. Through the College Now class, I learned more about Sir Isaac Newton than I ever would in a regular high school classroom. In the discussions and movie selections, I was able to obtain a more in depth understanding of his work as well as his character.