Newton and His Physics

The Nature of Theory
  • Lloyd Motz
  • Jefferson Hane Weaver


Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727) was born on Christmas Day, three months after the death of his father, a yeoman farmer after whom Isaac was named, to the former Hannah Ayscough at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire. Thee baby was frail and sickly, but he somehow managed to survive and grow stronger, even though he never enjoyed excellent health. Isaac did lot have a happy childhood because before he reached the age of two years, his mother married a wealthy minister named Barnabas Smith and, leaving Isaac to be raised by his grandmother, moved to the nearby village where Smith lived to help him raise his three children. Isaac was separated from his mother for nearly nine years until the death of his stepfather in 1653, and it is almost certain that her absence severely affected the development of his personality. It undoubtedly shaped his attitudes toward women; he had little to do with them throughout his life. He never married and, apart from a youthful romance, seems to have focused his attentions solely on his work and, to a lesser extent, on his critics: “The acute sense of insecurity that rendered him obsessively anxious when his work was published and irrationally violent when he defended it accompanied Newton throughout his life and can plausibly be traced to his early years.”1


Unbalanced Force Basic Entity Instantaneous Speed Universal Gravitation Simple Harmonic Motion 
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    “Sir Isaac Newton,” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., Vol. 13, 1974, p. 17.Google Scholar
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    Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1982, p. 148.Google Scholar
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    “Sir Isaac Newton,” op. cit., p. 17.Google Scholar
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    E. N. da Costa Andrade, “Isaac Newton,” The World of Mathematics. Ed. James R. Newman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1956, p. 256.Google Scholar
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    “Sir Isaac Newton,” op. cit., p. 17.Google Scholar
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    John Maynard Keynes, “Newton, the Man,” The World of Mathematics. Ed. James R. Newman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1956, p. 278.Google Scholar
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    Asimov, op. cit., p. 148.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 232.Google Scholar
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    “Sir Isaac Newton,” op. cit., p. 18.Google Scholar
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    Asimov, op. cit., p. 152.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 153.Google Scholar
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    Andrade, op. cit., p. 270.Google Scholar
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    Henry A. Boorse and Lloyd Motz, The World of the Atom. New York: Basic Books, 1966, p. 89.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lloyd Motz and Jefferson Hane Weaver 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd Motz
  • Jefferson Hane Weaver

There are no affiliations available

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