4 January was the birthday of Isaac Newton, the revered British physicist and mathematician. Born in 1642, Newton was the first to explain gravity and clearly define the nature of mass, weight, force, inertia, and acceleration. Newton's masterpiece, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, was published 310 years ago, in 1687. Newton also discovered that white light is composed of a spectrum of colors, and he invented the reflecting telescope. In mathematics, he contributed calculus and binomial theorems. Newton showed that scientific principles have universal applications.
[Source: Porter, Roy, Ed. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1994.]