"Beginner" 300 years (1). Isaac Newton, author of Principia

1987/02/01 Duoandikoetxea Zuazo, Javier - EHUko matematika irakaslea | Duoandikoetxea, J. Andoni Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

There are people and works that are important milestones in the history of Science. Of these, undoubtedly, are Isaac Newton and his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687. At the end of the sixtieth year of this book, Elhuyar. The journal Science and Technology presents a series of articles in which it explains who Newton was and in the following we approach his contributions.

Early years (1642-1661)

Isaac Newton Lincolnshire was born in Woolsthorpe (England) on January 4 on the Continent for the calendar change on Christmas Day 1642. His mother, Hannah Ayscough, of good decadent family, gave birth a few weeks before the expected. His father, also a landowner illiterate, was buried three months earlier. Although that Nimbus body did not think that the first day was going to survive, it reached up to 84 years.

After three years, Hannah remarried, to North-Witham, with her church minister, Barnabas Smith. Isaac stayed in Woolsthorpe under the protection of his maternal grandmother. This need to live without parents marked forever the character of Newton, since the psychosis and the paranon they showed throughout his life created in it. Years later (1662) he wrote a list of sins of a notebook in which he appears as very representative: His father and mother want to burn the smith and his house with them. In 1653, the new widow Hannah returned to Woolsthorpe with two daughters and one son, again in good economic condition.

The following year he joined the King's School of Newton Grantham. They gave him a normal education and it was then that more merit demonstrated the mechanical workmanship (clocks, windmills, etc. ). It was an ability to execute. Being the eldest son, the mother wanted to take over the goods of the family, but Isaac was not able to do so and Hannah yields and returns to school. Soon, with the effort of an uncle, he entered Cambridge.

Cambridge (1661-1696)

He entered the "Trinity College" of Newton Cambridge in 1661, after a more ancient and unconventional training than his companions. At first, he achieved his livelihood by becoming an assistant for greedy and professors. In the then official teaching of Cambridge, as in other European universities, the philosophy of Aristotle prevailed; despite the progress of Copernicus, Kepler, Descartes and Galileo, they were in a lively debate and only a few professors supported them.

Newton also began with Aristotle's philosophy, but soon he approached new ideas, the atomism of Pierre Gassendi. It is a sign of change the phrase that left us: amicus Plato, amicus Aristotle, magis amica veritas, friend of Plato, friend of Aristotle, but it is true my friend. In 1665 he achieved the degree of "Bachelor of Arts".

That year he was a pointer in Mathematics and Physics; he was willing to contribute his contributions. But the epidemic reached England and closed the University, so Newton retired to Woolsthorpe to spend a year there. At this time it is called annus mirabilis. It was then that Newton channeled his three main results: Infinitesimal calculus, Law of gravitation and theory of light and colors.

In the following years Newton's career was unstoppable: first he was appointed a member of "Trinity" (1667), soon he took the degree of "Master of Arts" (1668) and then with the post "Lucasian professor". This extra category post was from Barrow, but it seems to have been left to be handed over to Newton. Newton had to give a course a year as a professor and during these first years he taught Optics, without great success.

1669 Newton built his first telescope of reflection and Charles II. He was sent to court to be seen by the king. In 1672 he was elected a member of the Royal Society "Royal Society". This appointment forced to present to the Association a work of his, despite his opposition. The conference focused on the nature of color and light and Hooke had to report on it, starting the first debate between the two. Until then people who knew Newton's works were very minority, from now on they would be quieter, with two opposing forces inside: the desire to admire themselves for their work and the fear of criticism. This debate with Hooke lasted four years and was attended by Huygens, Pardies and other scientists.

As a result of these confrontations, Alchemy and Chemistry, Theology, History and other different topics. Isolated in her room, eating little and sleeping little, she spent hours on her crisetas, performing old experiments, developing a hermetic tradition. Under this tension he suffered a nervous attack in 1678 and the death of his mother the following year greatly impacted him.

In 1679 he resumed the studies of Dynamics which he had left behind. Consequently, he opened a new debate with Hooke, this time of gravitation. He abandoned these works and returned to them in 1684 to answer a question from Edmond Halley. The answer to this astronomer who gave name to the most famous comet that appeared in 1682 was materialized in the book "De Motu" (Higiduraz).

This was the starting point of the book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, presented at the Royal Society in 1686 and published the following year with the attention of Halley. Hooke denounced the plagiarism, proclaiming that the law of gravitation was taken from him, a plagiarism without much sense. In the "Principia" are the bases of modern Physics and, if published, the name of Newton reached the top of scientists from all over the world, becoming the head of young English.

From then on, he hardly carried out scientific research. On the contrary, alchemical trials and religious-theological studies increased. He denied the Holy Trio in religious matters, that is, he followed the doctrine of the famous heretical Arius, and although he kept it secretly, he publicly opposed the Law of England to become a cotolic. Before, fearing for the need to swear to maintain the chair, he obtained the king's permission to renounce the bishop, breaking the custom. When William III was appointed king, in 1689, he was elected representative of the University for Parliament.

The year 1693 was called "black year": on the one hand, the Swiss Fatio of Duillier, a beloved friend of Newton, left London to Switzerland renouncing the invitation to live with him at Cambridge; on the other, for a long time (fifteen days an hour and another five days) was almost without sleep for continuous work in the laboratory. All this affected the head and in autumn became crazy breaking relations with Samuel Pepys, John Locke and other friends. Months later he overcame the madness and apologized to the acquaintances. It was time to leave Cambridge.

London (1696-1727)

Abandoned university work, in 1696 he moved to London as a monitor of the Mint House. To achieve this position, he was assisted by Lord Halifax. This was fascinated by the beauty of Catherine Barton, Newton's niece. It began in a harsh pursuit against money forgers and ended with nineteen hanged. In 1700 he became Director.

The "Royal Society" was also closer and in 1697 was appointed a member of his Council, and in 1703 Hooke died the same year he died President. Meanwhile, he was elected as a foreign member of the "Académie des Sciences" in Paris. In 1705 Queen Anne made "Sir", the name she received for the first time a scientist. For this reason, for the "College of Heralds," he wrote his genealogy full of lies: he advanced the day of his parents' marriage so that he would not be missuspected of his premature birth.

At that time he lived among the big ones, due to the famous petsonaya. However, he did not use the power to help his old friends: Although Fatio was imprisoned for his religious ideas, Newton did nothing. Yes, to defend your interests: John Flamsteed, the astronomer Royal of Greenwich, eager to obtain the data collected for years, took advantage of his presidency of the "Royal Society" and, with the help of Halley, printed them, although Flamsteed ended up winning and burning before the delivery of the books.

Meanwhile, Newton was involved in another long debate: this time with the Germanic philosopher and mathematician Leibniz, who was the priority of inventing the Infinitesimal Calculus. Although they are now recognized as the independent discovery, then there was a fervent battle with the continued accusations of plagiarism on both sides; even with the death of Leibniz (1716), Newton attacked.

The theory of light, based on youth work, was preserved for many years and published in 1704, the year after Hooke's death. This edition of "Opticks" appeared in English, against custom, two years later in Latin. In the coming years he has prepared new publications of "Principia" and "Opticks" and has published other unknown works: Arithmetica Universalis and De Análisis, for example. After Newton's death was illuminated "The Chronology of the Ancient Kingship Amended", in which he proposes a chronology of the ancient kings and "Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and de Apocalypse of St. John", in which the heretics of their beliefs are shown for the first time.

In 1725, affected by the disease of biliary stones, sick of lung, he went to Kensington, leaving social life, in search of a fresh and clean air. With the near death, she devoted herself to the Mint and the presidency of the "Royal Society", enjoying the company of her nephew Catherine and her husband, John Conduitt. In the last days of his life he burned papers, manuscripts and some letters. He died rich on March 20, 1727 as a pioneer of Physics. The highest body of science throughout the centuries was buried in the banners of Westminster at the age of 84.

Content of "Beginner"

The book "Principia" focuses mainly on Dynamics. The first part begins with a summary of the Infinitesimal Calculus, but hardly uses it throughout the book. Although he used it to obtain results, in the presentation of the book he applied the method of the Greeks. That is why it is said to be a book that the Greeks could write.

After several definitions and three basic laws of movement, he divides his work into three "books". In the first one it refers to the movement of the bodies: the type of movement that the different forces extract and the type of force that corresponds to it. Likewise, it shows that the force of attraction of a sphere occurs in the center of masses, a problem that caused the headache.

All this assuming that it occurs only in movement, so in the second part it considers the obstacle of the medium, forming the poorest part of the book. The third part, called "The System of the World (mathematically)", deals with Gravitation. After analyzing the movement of several stars, he concludes that a single force explains the movement of the Moon, the satellites of Jupiter, the planets around the Sun, the comets, the bodies that fall to the Earth and the tides of the sea.

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