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Isaac Newton's discoveries were so numerous and varied that many consider him to be the father of modern science. A graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton developed an intense interest in mathematics and the laws of nature which ultimately led to his two most famous works: *Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica* (1687) and *Opticks* (1704). Newton helped define the laws of gravity and planetary motion, co-founded the field of calculus, and explained laws of light and color, among many other discoveries. (A famous story says that Newton uncovered the laws of gravity after being hit on the head by a falling apple. There is no proof that this story is true. However, his assistant John Conduitt later wrote that Newton had said he was inspired to think about gravity after seeing an apple fall in his garden around 1666.) Newton was knighted in 1705 and upon his death in 1727 was the first scientist given the honor of burial in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day in 1642; however, with the calendar changes of the 19th century, that date became 4 January 1643. The January 4th date is commonly used today… Newton is often ranked 1-2 with Albert Einstein among history’s leading physicists… Newton held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge — a post later held by Stephen Hawking… Newton was good friends with astronomer Edmond Halley, of Halley’s Comet fame… Newton was born just about one year after Galileo died.

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