Newton, Sir Isaac -

(1642-1727): English physicist and mathematician. He was also a bible scholar and was given the post of “Master of the British Mint” in 1695. Considered by many to be one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Newton discovered the laws of gravity and explored the nature of light. He invented calculus independently of Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716). He formulated the basic laws of physics, fundamental to celestial mechanics, which describe the gravitational attraction between two bodies (i.e. product of masses divided by square of distance). One of his most important books was Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy first published in 1687. This text contains the three laws of motion: a body at rest or in uniform motion will retain that state unless a force is applied; force equals the mass of a body multiplied by the acceleration produced by application of the force; if a body exerts a force on another, that body exerts an equal and opposite force on the first body. Newton used these laws to explain a wide variety of motions, from the Moon and planets to tides. Newton's laws are an integral part of describing all motions on Earth, including winds and ocean currents.