Isaac Newton

John Flamsteed – Astronomer Royal

John Flamsteed – Astronomer Royal

On March 4, 1675, the English King Charles II appoints John Flamsteed to “The King’s Astronomical Observator” – the first English Astronomer Royal, with an allowance of £100 a year. In the same year, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was founded and Flamsteed laid the foundation stone. Youth and Education John Flamsteed was born the only son of the merchant Stephen Flamsteed and his first wife Mary Spadman from Denby in the county…
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Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

On January 3, 1641, English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks passed away. He was the first scientist to demonstrate that the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit and was the only person to predict the transit of Venus of 1639. Background Jeremiah Horrocks grew up in a well educated family and was introduced to astronomy in early years. He was occupied with many astronomical tasks as a young boy and enrolled at…
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Urbain Le Verrier and the hypothetical Planet Vulcan

Urbain Le Verrier and the hypothetical Planet Vulcan

On 2 January 1860, French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier announced the discovery of Vulcan, a hypothetical planet inside the Mercury orbit, to a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris. Despite the lack of any reliable observation, Le Verrier really was convinced until his death that he had discovered a new planet. It was Einstein’s special theory of relativity and a completely new understanding of the laws of gravity that modified the predicted…
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Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

On November 8, 1656, Sir Edmond Halley was born. The astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist, was best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet.[9] Background Edmond Halley was born in England to the family of a wealthy soap maker. Halley was able to receive a proper education. He is believed to have been interested in mathematics from early age. Halley first studied at St Paul’s School where he…
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Sir Isaac Newton and the famous Principia

Sir Isaac Newton and the famous Principia

On July 5, 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (in Latin). It is to be considered as the most influential work of Sir Isaac Newton and as one of the greatest scientific works of all time. The original impulse to work on the Principia gave Edmund Halley,[2,3] the English scientist known for his calculations on the orbits of comets and for being the second Astronomer Royal in Britain. In 1684,…
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Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

On July 1, 1646, one of the last universally interdisciplinary academics, active in the fields of mathematics, physics, history, politics, philosophy, and librarianship was born. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz counts as one of the most influential scientists of the late 17th and early 18th century and impersonates a meaningful representative of the Age of Enlightenment. Moreover, he is also the namesake of the association to which the institute I am working for is a…
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Augustin-Jean Fresnel and the Wave Theory of Light

Augustin-Jean Fresnel and the Wave Theory of Light

On March 10, 1788, French civil engineer and physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel was born. Augustin-Jean Fresnel‘s research in optics led to the almost unanimous acceptance of the wave theory of light, excluding any remnant of Newton‘s corpuscular theory, from the late 1830s until the end of the 19th century. “It’s not observation but theory that led me to this result that experience has confirmed afterwards.” – Augustin-Jean Fresnel, explaining how he was led to…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Between October 20 and October 29, 1711, Italian physicist and academic Laura Maria Caterina Bassi was born. Bassi is referred to as being the first woman to earn a professorship in physics at a university in Europe and is recognized as the first woman in the world to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies. She contributed immensely to the field of science while also helping to spread the…
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Alexis Claude Clairaut and the True Figure of the Earth

Alexis Claude Clairaut and the True Figure of the Earth

On May 13, 1713, French mathematician, astronomer, and geophysicist Alexis Claude Clairaut was born. Clairaut was one of the key figures in the expedition to Lapland that helped to confirm Newton’s theory for the figure of the Earth.[3] In that context, Clairaut worked out a mathematical result now known as “Clairaut’s theorem“. He also tackled the gravitational three-body problem, being the first to obtain a satisfactory result for the apsidal precession of…
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