Isaac Newton by Gale E. Christianson
(Lives & Legacies (Oxford))

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Synopsis

Quarrelsome and quirky, a disheveled recluse who ate little, slept less, and yet had an iron constitution, Isaac Newton rose from a virtually illiterate family to become one of the towering intellects of science. Now, in this fast-paced, colorful biography, Gale E. Christianson paints an engaging portrait of Newton and the times in which he lived.
We follow Newton from his childhood in rural England to his student days at Cambridge, where he devoured the works of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, and taught himself mathematics. There ensued two miraculous years at home in Woolsthorpe Manor, where he fled when plague threatened Cambridge, a remarkably fertile period when Newton formulated his theory of gravity, a new theory of light, and calculus--all by his twenty-fourth birthday. Christianson describes Newton's creation of the first working model of the reflecting telescope, which brought him to the attention of the Royal Society, and he illuminates the eighteen months of intense labor that resulted in his Principia, arguably the most important scientific work ever published. The book sheds light on Newton's later life as master of the mint in London, where he managed to convict and hang the arch criminal William Chaloner (a remarkable turn for a once reclusive scholar), and his presidency of the Royal Society, which he turned from a dilettante's club into an eminent scientific organization. Christianson also explores Newton's less savory side, including his long, bitter feud with Robert Hooke and the underhanded way that Newton established his priority in the invention of calculus and tarnished Liebniz's reputation.
Newton was an authentic genius with all too human faults. This book captures both sides of this truly extraordinary man.
 

About Gale E. Christianson

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Published November 1, 2005 by Oxford University Press. 160 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Travel. Non-fiction

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(He was also able to gain special dispensation from Charles II himself not to take holy orders.) Christianson explains some of Newton's eccentricity in terms of childhood scars.

Jun 16 1984 | Read Full Review of Isaac Newton (Lives & Legacie...

Kirkus Reviews

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In both instances, Christianson shows, Newton played Nixonian tricks to make sure he won out: In the first case, he called together a high-powered committee to review his charge that Leibniz had stolen the calculus from him, but “handpicked every committee member, stacking the deck against the fa...

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Publishers Weekly

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Christianson has built a small empire of Newton biographies, including the full-length In the Presence of the Creator and the much briefer Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution .

Sep 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Isaac Newton (Lives & Legacie...

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