A long time ago, on December 25, a baby boy was born. He has no earthly father, but he continued to transform Western thought before he was 30 years old. He also controversially started one of the most boring battles in history, spending time as a thinker to bug things in his own eyeballs, and perhaps the quietest politician in history. And yet perhaps despite these more interesting discourses, he is most famous today for discovering the laws of gravity after an apple fell on his head. That’s right: we’re talking about Sir Isaac Newton.
Let’s get started: Yes, Newton was indeed born on Christmas Day, a few months after his father’s death – although due to the misuse of the pamphlet (or if you’re feeling conspiratorial, 300 years of fake history being transformed) we now consider his birthday January 4. Although these days it is the only basis for holding a festival, at that time it was considered a sign of heavenly grace.
He was a lonely kid, when you realize that he once threatened to burn the house of his mother and stepfather inside them. He was, however, an intense student, and in 1661 he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge. There he was taught the top scientific theories of the day, still the “physics” that Aristotle wrote about two millennia ago.
Newton had to look elsewhere to absorb the work of Euclid, Descartes, and Kepler, and to attract the attention of Isaac Barrow, the first-ever mathematics professor at Cambridge. As his adviser to Barrow, Newton would develop the beginnings of what would become bipolar theory and calculus. A few months after he graduated, the country was hit by a plague. For the past 18 months, Newton, like many places around the world, has been forced to become self-isolated in his family home for the next two years. Unlike most of us, however, he didn’t spend the lockdown re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer in his pajamas. Instead, he spent time revolutionizing mathematics and physics so that, naturally, he heard the whole art.