We have experienced the pandemic caused by the Corona Virus. The lockdown and staying at home helped many in different ways. Do you know that a similar lockdown in the 17th century Great Plague gave Newton to the scientific world?

Issac Newton was born three months after the death of his father who too had the same name. His mother remarried and had three children. Newton disliked his stepfather and so was looked after by his maternal grandmother. Newton was educated at The King’s School, Grantham.

Seven colors in light

When her mother lost his second husband, she wanted Newton to go farming to provide for the family. But the school teacher Henry Stokes persuaded his mother to send him back to school to finish his education. In order to take revenge against a bully at school, he was motivated to study hard and became the top-ranked student. Perhaps one could argue that the science world should thank the bully for indirectly helping Newton with his achievements. In June 1661, he was enrolled to Trinity College, Cambridge.

Newton statue in Oxford – He studied in Cambridge

He had to do some odd jobs at the university for his meal supplements. However, he was awarded a scholarship in 1664, guaranteeing him four more years until he could get his MA. Soon after Newton had obtained his BA degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague.

Newton’s private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics, and the law of gravitation. When the University opened in April 1667, after the Pandemic, he returned to continue the MA studies. His studies had impressed a professor, Isaac Barrow. Two years later, in 1669 Newton succeeded him by becoming the master of Trinity, just one year after receiving his MA. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1672. Royal Society was established by King Charles II.

Isaac Newton was a physicist and mathematician who developed the principles of modern physics, including the laws of motion, and is credited as one of the great minds of the 17th-century Scientific Revolution. Sir Isaac Newton began developing his theories on light, calculus, and celestial mechanics while on break from Cambridge University during the Great Plague pandemic. It was during this period at Woolsthorpe that he witnessed an apple drop from a tree. Newton’s observation caused him to ponder why apples always fall straight to the ground (rather than sideways or upward) and helped inspire him to eventually develop his law of universal gravitation.

In 1687, Newton first published this principle, which states that everybody in the universe is attracted to every other body with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, in his landmark work the “Principia,” which also features his three laws of motion. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society for 24 years.

Newton died in his sleep in London on 20 March 1727.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey. Newton never married.