Today on April 16th 1705, Queen Anne knights Isaac Newton at a ceremony in Trinity College.
Sir Isaac Newton was born in the hamlet of Woolsthorpe in 1642. The English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist received his degree from Trinity College when he was 23 years old. He was inspired early on by the writings of Rene Descartes, Galileo and Copernicus. Newton’s scientific experiments and theories forever changed the world of physics. Known as a ‘natural philosopher’, he played a pivotal role in fostering and influencing the scientific revolution across Europe. In his later years, he was elected as a Member of Parliament and given the post of Warden of the Royal Mint.
Newton’s theory of universal gravitation was famously inspired while sitting in his mother’s garden where he observed how an apple fell from a tree. He believed the force that had pulled the apple to the ground was also the same force pulling the moon towards earth. His discovery of gravity became one of the most important scientific realizations in history. While teaching at Cambridge University, he shifted his focus to studying optics and light refraction. He eventually constructed the first reflecting telescope and established what is now known as Newton’s theory of color.
In 1687, he published his famous three-volume series called the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia. Simply known as the Principia, he carefully outlined his theory of universal gravity and confirmed that universal force applies to all objects in the universe. His books laid the foundation for the laws of motion, which would dominate the world of physics for centuries to come. Queen Anne knighted Isaac Newton in a ceremony held at Trinity College. He joined Sir Francis Bacon as the only other scientist to be knighted in Britain. Newton finally passed away when he was 84 years old and was buried in Westminster Abbey.