Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) was an English mathematician and scientist (a "natural philosopher") who developed the fundamental laws of motion students learn in high school:
- An object at rest will remain at rest, and one in motion remain in motion at the same velocity (speed and direction), unless acted upon by an external force;
- The force on an object is proportional to its mass times its acceleration (or, in appropriate units, F = ma).
- For every action (force), there is an equal and opposite reaction (opposing force); and
He is responsible for the law of universal gravitation and conservation laws for linear momentum and angular momentum. Newton also made important contributions to optics and other areas of physics, as well as inventing the entire field of mathematics called calculus (independently of Gottfried Leibniz).
Religious and metaphysical views
Much is made of the fact that some very famous scientists have believed in God (see Argumentum ad verecundiam). Newton not only believed in God, he wrote extensively on religious and occult matters, especially Biblical interpretation. He tried to find hidden messages in the form of what are now known as Bible codes. He also established a date for Jesus's crucifixion (April 3 in the year 33) as well as a rough estimate of when the apocalypse would occur (no earlier than 2060).
In his General Scholium, he wrote:
- "This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent being."