J-L CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J-L CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), English scientist and mathematician and discoverer of the law of universal gravitation. According to the well-known story, the idea of universal gravitation first came to him when, at the age of 22, he was sitting in the garden of his family home at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, and saw an apple fall to the ground. Newton himself is reported to have told this story to friends in 1726-1727, near the end of his life. He made many other outstanding contributions to physics and mathematics including the three laws of motion, calculus, the reflecting telescope and the discovery that sunlight is split into its constituent colours on passing through a prism.
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