Sir Isaac Newton, FRS , was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. His Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries and is the basis for modern engineering. Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancing the scientific revolution.
In mechanics, Newton enunciated the principles of conservation of momentum and angular momentum. In optics, he invented the reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into a visible spectrum. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound.
1. If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
2. I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
3. I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.
4. Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy
5. Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.
6. What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.
7. Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.
8. Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.
9. No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.
10. This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being…
This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont, to be called Lord God παντοκρατωρ or Universal Ruler
11. A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true.
12. and to every action there is always an equal and opposite or contrary, reaction
13. If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent
14. What goes up must come down.
15. Live your life as an Exclamation rather than an Explanation
16. He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God.
17. You have to make the rules, not follow them
18. Sir Isaac Newton was asked how he discovered the law of gravity. He replied, “By thinking about it all the time.
19. To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me
20. Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.
21. Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.
22. How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts?
Was the eye contrived without skill in Opticks, and the ear without knowledge of sounds?…and these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from phænomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent…?
23. To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. Tis much better to do a little with certainty & leave the rest for others that come after than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.
24. God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing.
25. Whence arises all that order and beauty we see in the world?
26. To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age
27. About the times of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition.
28. What we know is a drop of water; what we ignore is an ocean.
29. Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.
30. Yet one thing secures us what ever betide, the scriptures assures us that the Lord will provide.
31. If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.
32. Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth.
33. I have studied these things – you have not
34.This principle of nature being very remote from the conceptions of Philosophers, I forbore to describe it in that book, least I should be accounted an extravagant freak and so prejudice my Readers against all those things which were the main designe of the book.
35. A Vulgar Mechanick can practice what he has been taught or seen done, but if he is in an error he knows not how to find it out and correct it, and if you put him out of his road he is at a stand. Whereas he that is able to reason nimbly and judiciously about figure, force, and motion, is never at rest till he gets over every rub.
36. God who gave Animals self motion beyond our understanding is without doubt able to implant other principles of motion in bodies [which] we may understand as little. Some would readily grant this may be a Spiritual one; yet a mechanical one might be showne, did not I think it better to pass it by.
37. In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.
38. Truth is the offspring of silence and meditation. I keep the subject constantly before me and wait ’til the first dawnings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light.
39. Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
40. I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.
41. As a blind man has no idea of colors, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things
42. If I have done great things it’s because I was standing in the closet of smart men taking notes and then publishing their ideas as my own.
43. They who search after the Philosopher’s Stone [are] by their own rules obliged to a strict and religious life.
44. If others would think as hard as I did, then they would get
45. A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the apprehension of them is not understanding.
46. For I see not what there is desirable in publick esteeme, were I able to acquire & maintaine it. It would perhaps increase my acquaintance, the thing which I chiefly study to decline.
47. For I see not what there is desirable in publick esteeme, were I able to acquire & maintaine it. It would perhaps increase my acquaintance, the thing which I chiefly study to decline.
48. The more time and devotion one spends in the worship of false gods, the less he is able to spend in that of the True One.
49. All of those actions into one another
50. “Kepler’s laws, although not rigidly true, are sufficiently near to the truth to have led to the discovery of the law of attraction of the bodies of the solar system. The deviation from complete accuracy is due to the facts, that the planets are not of inappreciable mass, that, in consequence, they disturb each other’s orbits about the Sun, and, by their action on the Sun itself, cause the periodic time of each to be shorter than if the Sun were a fixed body, in the subduplicate ratio of the mass of the Sun to the sum of the masses of the Sun and Planet; these errors are appreciable although very small, since the mass of the largest of the planets, Jupiter, is less than 1/1000th of the Sun’s mass.
51. I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
52. Tis much better to do a little with certainty & leave the rest for others that come after than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.
53. Resistance is usually ascribed to bodies at rest, and impulse to those in motion; but motion and rest, as commonly conceived, are only relatively distinguished; nor are those bodies always truly at rest, which commonly are taken to be so.
54. That one body should act upon another through a vacuum without the mediation of anything else is so great an absurdity that no man suited to do science…can ever fall into it,…..Gravity must be caused by an agent…but whether that agent be material or immaterial I leave to my readers.
55. In the beginning of the year 1665 I found the Method of approximating series & the Rule for reducing any dignity of any Binomial into such a series. The same year in May I found the method of Tangents of Gregory & Slusius, & in November had the direct method of fluxions & the next year in January had the Theory of Colours & in May following I had entrance into ye inverse method of fluxions. And the same year I began to think of gravity extending to ye orb of the Moon & (having found out how to estimate the force with wch [a] globe revolving within a sphere presses the surface of the sphere) from Kepler’s rule of the periodic times of the Planets being in sesquialterate proportion of their distances from the center of their Orbs, I deduced that the forces wch keep the Planets in their Orbs must [be] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about wch they revolve: & thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the earth, & found them answer pretty nearly. All this was in the two plague years of 1665-1666. For in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention & minded Mathematicks & Philosophy more then than at any time since.
56. In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions. This rule we must follow, that the argument of induction may not be evaded by hypotheses.
57. This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centers of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One.
58. This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centers of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One.
59. We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.
60. For it became him [God] who created them [the atoms] to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature.