What were Sir Isaac Newton's interests?


Quick Answer

Sir Isaac Newton nurtured a wide number of interests, which spanned various academic disciplines. Among the most famous are optics, mechanics and mathematics, but Newton was also fascinated by questions of history, philosophy, religion, alchemy and chemistry.

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In the field of optics, Newton became interested in the works of previous thinkers Robert Boyle and Robert Hook, and over the course of several years increasingly refined his experimentation with prisms. Ultimately, Newton determined that white light is actually the combination of infinitely colored individual rays. Of course, Newton's most famous work is likely that dealing with gravitation and the laws of motion, ideas that laid the groundwork for modern physics. Also in mathematics, Newton was one of the original proponents of the then new field of calculus, with Gottfried Leibnitz being the other principal developer.

Despite his proclivity for the sciences, Newton possessed even more texts devoted to the humanities. In the realm of religion, Newton was particularly interested in the way in which Judeo-Christian prophecy could be used to better understand God, particularly his providential role as manifested in nature. Newton was also keen to reconcile some aspects of Greek mythology with Bible teachings, and he had at least one unpublished work detailing his own command of pre-Socratic philosophy. Newton possessed innumerable extracts of manuscripts concerning alchemy and sought ultimately to prove that all matter was comprised of tiny, hard and movable particles. He hoped that by unraveling the esoteric and mystical elements of alchemy, such knowledge might be more effectively revealed.

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