Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) was an English mathematician and scientist (a "natural philosopher") who developed the fundamental laws of motion students learn in high school:
- An object at rest will remain at rest, and one in motion remain in motion at the same velocity (speed and direction), unless acted upon by an external force;
- The force on an object is proportional to its mass times its acceleration (or, in appropriate units, F = ma).
- For every action (force), there is an equal and opposite reaction (opposing force); and
He is responsible for the law of universal gravitation and conservation laws for linear momentum and angular momentum. Newton also made important contributions to optics and other areas of physics, as well as inventing the entire field of mathematics called calculus (independently of Gottfried Leibniz).
Religious and metaphysical views
Much is made of the fact that some very famous scientists have believed in God (see Argumentum ad verecundiam). Newton not only believed in God, he believed in the occult and numerology. He tried to find hidden messages in the Bible (i.e., Bible codes), and wrote extensively on Biblical interpretation, including a recently discovered prediction of when the apocalypse would occur (no earlier than 2060). See Wikipedia:Isaac Newton's occult studies for more information.