百位名人英文简介

The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

Physicist and mathematician. Born January 4, 1643 (some sources say December 25, 1642) in Woolsthorpe, a hamlet in southwestern Lincolnshire, England. When Newton was a child, Lincolnshire was a battleground of the civil wars, in which religious dissension and political rebellion was dividing England's population. Also of significance for his early development were circumstances within his family. He was born after the death of his father, and in his third year his mother married the rector of a neighboring parish and left her son at Woolsthorpe in the care of his grandmother.

After a rudimentary education in local schools, he was sent at the age of 12 to the King's School in Grantham, where he lived in the home of an apothecary named Clark. It was from Clark's stepdaughter that Newton's biographer William Stukeley learned many years later of the boy's interest in her father's chemical library and laboratory and of the windmill run by a live mouse, the floating lanterns, sundials, and other mechanical contrivances Newton built to amuse her. Although she married someone else and he never married, she was the one person for whom Newton seems to have had a romantic attachment.

At birth Newton was heir to the modest estate which, when he came of age, he was expected to manage. But during a trial period midway in his course at King's School, it became apparent that farming was not his metier. In 1661, at the age of 19, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. There the questioning of long-accepted beliefs was beginning to be apparent in new attitudes toward man's environment, expressed in the attention given to mathematics and science.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in 1665, apparently without special distinction, Newton stayed on for his master's; but an epidemic of the plague caused the university to close. Newton was back at Woolsthorpe for 18 months in 1666 and 1667. During this brief period he performed the basic experiments and apparently did the fundamental thinking for all his subsequent work on gravitation and optics and developed for his own use his system of calculus. The story that the idea of universal gravitation was suggested to him by the falling of an apple seems to be authentic: Stukeley reports that he heard it from Newton himself.

Returning to Cambridge in 1667, Newton quickly completed the requirements for his master's degree and then entered upon a period of elaboration of the work begun at Woolsthorpe. His mathematics professor, Isaac Barrow, was the first to recognize Newton's unusual ability, and when, in 1669, Barrow resigned to devote himself to theology, he recommended Newton as his successor. Newton became Lucasian professor of mathematics at 27 and stayed at Trinity in that capacity for 27 years.

Newton's main interest at the time of his appointment was optics, and for several years the lectures required of him by the professorship were devoted to this subject. In a letter of 1672 to the secretary of the Royal Society, he says that in 1666 he had bought a prism "to try therewith the celebrated phenomena of colours." He continues, "In order thereto having darkened the room and made a small hole in my window-shuts to let in a convenient quantity of the Suns light, I placed my prism at its entrance, that it might be thereby refracted to the opposite wall." He had been surprised to see the various colors appear on the wall in an oblong arrangement (the vertical being the greater dimension), "which according to the received laws of refraction should have been circular." Proceeding from this experiment through

Word文档免费下载Word文档免费下载:百位名人英文简介 (共114页,当前第1页)

百位名人英文简介相关文档

最新文档

返回顶部