Sir Isaac Newton is most well known for explaining how gravity functions. However, the English mathematician and scientist also established the basics for differential and integral calculus and invented a reflecting telescope.
Born in 1643, Newton was fascinated with building mechanical toys and windmills as a child. A poor student and incompetent manager of the family estate, he began to flourish as a scientist and mathematician when one of his professors began tutoring him.
At the time, scientists were aware that a force like gravity existed, but Newton discovered the formula to explain the amount of force any two objects exert on each other. The math at the time was insufficient for him to convey his formula, however, leading him to invent calculus.
He made a string of discoveries within an 18-month period of time, dazzling the academic community and establishing himself as a key scholar and scientist. He was among the early believers in a heliocentric galaxy versus a galaxy in which all planets and the sun orbited the Earth. Newton published many of his findings in a book in 1687, roughly 20 years after he made them. Word of his discoveries reached Queen Anne, who knighted him in 1705.