What did Sir Isaac Newton discover?


Quick Answer

Throughout his life, Sir Isaac Newton made numerous discoveries in physics, mathematics, optics and astronomy. Due to these discoveries, he is considered to be a key figure of the scientific revolution in the 17th century and remains an iconic figure in modern science.

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Full Answer

Sir Isaac Newton was born on Dec. 25, 1642. He grew up in England and went to school at The King's School in Grantham. As Newton grew older, he attended Trinity College in Cambridge. It was here that he studied the teachings of Aristotle, Descartes and Galileo. It was also at Trinity College that Newton formulated his binomial theorem, which later led him to discover calculus. When his school closed as a precaution due to the Great Plague sweeping through Europe, Newton went home to study with private tutors.

At home he invented the theory of gravity and wrote the universal law of gravitation equation. Also while at home, Newton studied optics and invented the reflecting telescope by improving upon the earlier refracting telescope. In addition Newton also postulated the Three Laws of Motion. In these laws, Newton describes the relationships between force, matter and acceleration. He can also be credited for many inventions that people still use today including the pet door and the color theory.

Sir Isaac Newton's most famous discovery concerns gravitational theory. His Law of Universal Gravitation states that all particles in the universe exert gravitational force. He contended that the same forces that make an apple fall from a tree also make the moon stay in orbit through its relationship with the Earth.

Newton also discovered that white light is a combination of all colors of the rainbow. This discovery led to his development of the reflecting telescope that used mirrors in addition to glass lenses. With that, all colors could focus on a single point and produce clearer, more accurate images of viewed objects. Astronomers and space agencies still use reflecting telescopes today.

Newton also conceived the three laws of motion which include Newton's Law of Inertia which explains that objects stay at rest or in motion unless acted upon. Secondly, he developed Newton's Law of Acceleration which states that force equals mass times acceleration. Thirdly, Newton's Law of Action and Reaction says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Newton possessed an affinity for mathematics, especially calculus, and developed differentiation and integration with German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz.

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