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Newton Sir Isaac 1642-1727 mathematician and physicist one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time Born at Woolsthorpe near Grantham in Lincolnshire where he went to school he began to attend Cambridge University in 1661 he was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1667 and a Lucasian mathematics professor in 1669 He stayed at the university lecturing most of the years until 1696 During these Cambridge years in which Newton was at the top of his creative power he singled out 1665-1666 as the prime of his age for invention During two to three years of intense mental effort he prepared Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy known mostly as the Principia though it was not put into print until 1687As a firm opponent of the attempt by King James II to make the universities into Catholic institutions Newton was elected Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge to the Convention Parliament of 1689 and was also re-elected again in 1701-1702 Meanwhile in 1696 he had moved to London as Warden of the Royal Mint He became Master of the Mint in 1699 an office he held to his death He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1671 and in 1703 he became President of the society being annually re-elected for the rest of his life His major work Opticks appeared the next year he was knighted in Cambridge in 1705As Newtonian science became increasingly accepted on the Continent and especially after a general peace was restored in 1714 following the War of the Spanish Succession Newton became the most highly esteemed philosopher in Europe His last decades were passed in revising his major works polishing his studies of ancient history and defending himself against critics as well as carrying out his official duties Newton was modest reserved and a man of simple tastes He was upset by criticism or opposition and hated resentment
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