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Biography Of Sir Isaac Newton Essay

2054 words - 8 pages

Isaac Newton's life can be divided into three quite distinct periods.
The first is his boyhood days from 1643 up to his appointment to a
chair in 1669. The second period from 1669 to 1687 which was the
highly productive period in which he was a professor at Cambridge
University. The third period (nearly as long as the other two
combined) saw Newton as a highly paid government official in London
with little further interest in mathematical research.

Isaac Newton was born in the manor house of WoolsThorpe, near Grantham
in Lincolnshire. By the calendar in use at the time of his birth he
was born on Christmas Day 1642. Isaac Newton came from a family of
farmers but never knew his father, also named Isaac Newton. Although
Isaac's father owned property and animals, which made him quite a
wealthy man, he was completely uneducated and could not sign his own
name.

Isaac's mother Hannah Ayscough remarried Barnabas Smith the minister
of the church at North Witham, a nearby village, when Isaac was two
years old. The young child was then left in the care of his
grandmother Margery at Woolsthorpe. Basically treated as an orphan,
Isaac did not have a happy childhood. His grandfather James was never
mentioned by Isaac in later life and the fact that James left nothing
to Isaac in his will, made when the boy was ten years old, suggests
that there was no love lost between the two. There is no doubt that
Isaac felt very bitter towards his mother and his stepfather Barnabas
Smith. When examining his sins at age nineteen, Isaac listed: -

Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over
them.

Upon the death of his stepfather in 1653, Newton lived in an extended
family consisting of his mother, his grandmother, one half-brother,
and two half-sisters. From shortly after this time Isaac began
attending the Free Grammar School in Grantham. Although this was only
five miles from his home, Isaac lodged with the Clark family at
Grantham. However he seems to have shown little promise in academic
work. His school reports described him as 'idle' and 'inattentive'.
His mother, by now a lady of reasonable wealth and property, thought
that her eldest son was the right person to manage her affairs and her
estate. Isaac was taken away from school but soon showed that he had
no talent, or interest, in managing an estate. An uncle, William
Ayscough, decided that Isaac should prepare for entering university
and, having persuaded his mother that this was the right thing to do,
Isaac was allowed to return to the Free Grammar School in Grantham in
1660 to complete his school education. This time he lodged with
Stokes, who was the headmaster of the school, and it would appear
that, despite suggestions that he had previously shown no academic
promise; Isaac must have convinced some of...

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