The magnificent mind and original author of the scientific method and creator of the fields of calculus and physics was born on this day, January 4, 1643. Issac Newton was an English philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, physicist, alchemist, and theologian whose brilliant questions about our natural world led to major discoveries that were instrumental in forming the basis for the scientific revolution.
Newton’s Laws of Motion and Gravity are foundational studies; I recall frequent use of his formulas in high school math class calculations such as F=ma (force equals mass times acceleration), though much of my focus at the time was to identify and plug numbers into an equation to solve a problem with a clear, exact answer. Years later, I’ve realized that these basic questions can produce unquantifiable answers far deeper than numbers and measurements, which reinforces my newfound appreciation for the philosophy of mathematics and the universal principles that govern our human existence in the natural world.
It is the weight, not numbers of experiments that is to be regarded.– Isaac Newton
There is infinitely profound wisdom in Newton’s writings, and one could easily devote a lifetime to studying this mastermind and his art and science of asking questions. I will surely revisit his words and explore their significance at length in time. In honor of the birthday of this creative genius, I’ve put together a collection of powerful quotes to ponder.
If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.– Issac Newton
Patience and attention to detail leads to asking better questions, which can in turn lead to bigger discoveries.
Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.– Issac Newton
The power of simplicity and focusing on one thing can result in a multiplier effect downstream, but if you focus on too much to start, it is more likely that you will get bogged down and ultimately lose focus.
Newton’s 3rd law of motion states:
To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.– Issac Newton
This principle applies to habit arithmetic: when you subtract a negative habit, a void is created. If you aren’t intentional about filling that space with something positive, you could face the unintended consequences of a new draining action taking its place. Addition and subtraction, or multiplication and division are basic actions with inverse relationships, but Newton is also credited with higher level math laws dealing with more complex functions and exponential notations, which are used to calculate the universal law of gravity, a formula written as R: F = G(m1m2)/R2.
“Newton found that as two bodies move farther away from one another, the gravitational attraction between them decreases by the inverse of the square of the distance. Thus, if the objects are twice as far apart, the gravitational force is only a fourth as strong; if they are three times as far apart, it is only a ninth of its previous power.” – Sir Issac Newton: Quotes, Facts, and Biography by Nola Taylor Redd
This principle was applied to the orbits of planets and moons in the solar system, but is also the source of the law of attraction. The more you surround yourself with people and ideas that embody positive goals and forward progress, the more likely you are to gain momentum to move in a similar direction. Which is a direct correlation of the first law of motion:
Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.– Issac Newton
If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.– Issac Newton
More than ever before, we have the wisdom of countless sages at our fingertips who have journeyed before us and can light the way. In the information age, reading and studying the wisdom of great speakers and authors will open our eyes to expansive new territories, and serve as guides along the journeys of life. If the path ahead is unclear, perhaps you should pause, perhaps even take some steps back, and seek out perspective from a different, higher vantage point.
What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.– Isaac Newton
Happy birthday Sir Newton. We continue to benefit from the discipline you exercised to build strong shoulders. May we continue to learn and utilize the scientific method you established to create a better future.