Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night;
God said, 'Let Newton be' and all was light.
Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day 1642, the year that Galileo died. For most people,
is famous for his Three Laws of Motion.
Beyond that, those with additional education know him for creating the
Calculus to prove his theories of celestial and terrestrial mechanics. In
invented the reflecting telescope as a result of his experiments with
light. And he also proved the general
case for the Binomial Theorem (“Pascal's Triangle”). He served in Parliament,
representing Newton ,
where he had been a professor of mathematics. He served as president of the Royal Society of
scientists. Few people except numismatists know him to have been the Warden and
Master of the British Royal Mint for thirty years. He had himself sworn as a justice of the
peace so that he could pursue and prosecute counterfeiters. Any one of those achievements would have made
important to us today. That he accomplished all of that - and more - set Sir
Isaac Newton apart even from the geniuses and polymaths recorded by history. Cambridge
|Newton's Reflecting Telescope|
Yr humble servant Ic Newton
The Cambridge Digital Library, Newton’s Papers.
The First Newtonmas?
“Celebration of Newtonmas can be traced back to 1890. An 1892 issue of Nature records it thus (on page 459):
At Christmas 1890, or Newtonmas 248, for the first time, the members of the Newtonkai, or Newton Association, met in the Physical Laboratory of the
, to hear each other talk, to distribute appropriate gifts, and to lengthen out the small hours with laughter and good cheer. The Society has no President : a portrait of the august Sir Isaac Newton presides over the scene.” (http://jdebp.eu./FGA/newtonmas.html) Imperial University
In 1982-1984 I was recording “Community Commentaries” for WKAR-AM/FM in
. One holiday season, I built up the imagery of a little boy born in a small village across
the sea who would grow up to bring light to the world. When I quoted the poet's eulogy, I emphasized the word
Pope - and then announced that Sir Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642,
the same year that Galileo died. Since
then, over the years, I have sent out Newtonmas cards to my friends. I also posted Newtonmas greetings to Usenet
newsgroups for numismatics and physics. East Lansing
|Middlesex 1793 Half Penny Token|
"Payable in London Bristol & Lancaster"
|"The Maternal Congruence"|
December 14, 2009
ALSO ON NECESSARY FACTS