What Did Newton Invent?


Quick Answer

Newton invented the reflecting telescope, which was his first major public scientific accomplishment, according to University of Virginia. He designed and constructed the device himself. Newton ground the mirror, made the tube and created the telescope using tools he had himself made. Newton also invented calculus while researching on gravity, states Palo Alto Unified School District. HowStuffWorks mentions that he also laid the groundwork for the modern understanding of gravity.

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The University of Virginia states that Newton's upgraded version of the telescope was a major leap in telescope technology, and even had Newton elected to membership in the Royal Society. The reflection telescope was an upgrade of the refracting version that, by that time, had failed to produce clearly focused results, HowStuffWorks explains. Some large telescopes still use mirrors today.

Newton invented calculus as a way to work out extremely small values. The concept has wide application in science, engineering, economics and other scenarios where algebra alone does not suffice. The mathematical study is split into two branches: integration and differentiation.

The scientist also defined the law of universal gravitation and came up with the concept of an orbital cannon. The concept theorizes that a cannonball would freely orbit the earth if it was launched at sufficient velocity.

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