In the late 17th century, the world was able to better understand the universe thanks to the important and remarkable scientific genius of Isaac Newton. In January 1684, Edmund Haley, an English astronomer, Christopher Wren, an architect, and Robert Hooke, a British scientist, attended a meeting at the Royal Society of Scientists. The three discussed the laws that might govern the motion of the stars and planets and ended up with friendly wager. Wren offered a book worth forty shillings as a prize for the first person who could prove these laws of the universe mathematically. Halley was a friend of Isaac Newton although some books describe their relationship as ordinary acquaintance. He mentioned Wrens bet to Newton the following August. The playful exchange between the two friends became the most important agenda in Newtons life. It was not the prize that Wren had offered that excited him, but the challenge of making a new discovery. Newton embarked on a two-year journey of experiments to demonstrate why the planets follow an elliptical path around the Sun. He devoted two and half years to keep the promise. Using a telescope he made for himself, he began his most influential work in physics and mathematics.
Newton studied the observations of scientists that preceded him about the stars. Using his great mathematical skills, he united their observations with results obtained by the royal astronomer John Flamsteed and his own. Newton used his knowledge with information about the events on Earth such as falling objects and ocean tides. With all the evidence he gathered, Newton mathematically established universal principles about how gravity, force, and motion work and how they are related. The principles shaped the study of physics and named the Newtons laws. The conclusions and mathematical proofs that he successfully demonstrated were published in 1687 in a book called Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which was written in Latin as it was conventionally done during the 17th century onwards. Historians called Newtons laws the most important achievement of the scientific revolution.
Newton built his achievement based on the remarkable efforts of scholars such as Rene Descartes who developed geometry. Others were European astronomers Nicholaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler who tried to disprove the opinion that the planets revolved around the Sun. Their observations of the stars replaced the common beliefs of Greek philosophers and mathematicians that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that the earth was indeed the center of the universe. Galileo Galilei was another person who influenced Newton through his experiments of falling objects that proved Kepler and Copernicus assertions that the Sun is the center of the universe.
After the publication of the book containing his laws of nature, Newton became a legend, and English people considered him one of the countrys greatest thinkers. His work inspired works of art and poetry; for example, English poet Alexander Pope summarized the awestruck public opinion of Newton by writing the following.
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