Sir Issac Newton Sir Isaac Newton English mathematician and physicist Birth December 25, 1642 Death March 20, 1727 Place of Birth Woolsthorpe, England Known for Inventing, in part, the branch of mathematics now known as calculus Formulating the three laws of motion, which describe classical mechanics Proposing the theory of universal gravitation, which explains that all bodies are affected by the force called gravity Career 1661 Entered Trinity College, University of Cambridge 1665-1666 Developed what he called the fluxional method (now known as calculus) while living in seclusion to avoid the plague 1669-1701 Served as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge 1687 Published his seminal work, Philosphiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), which contained his three laws of motion and the theory of gravitation 1703-1727 Acted as president of the Royal Society, an organization that promotes the natural sciences 1704 Published Opticks (Optics), describing his theory that white light is a blend of different colors Did You Know? Newton was reluctant to share his research with other scientists for fear they would take credit for his discoveries. Newton instigated a Royal Society investigation to prove that he invented calculus before German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Liebniz, who had published the method first. In addition to science, Newton showed an interest in alchemy, mysticism, and theology. French writer Voltaire first recorded the story that a falling apple gave Newton the inspiration for his theory of gravitation. Voltaire cited Newton’s niece as his source for the story. Bibliography none.