Skip links

Isaac Newton Facts and Biographical Timeline

Newton, Sir Isaac, mathematician and physicist, one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time. When and where was Isaac Newton born? In 1642, the year Galileo died, Isaac Newton was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England on Christmas Day. Newton was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge where he lived from 1661 to 1696. During this period he produced the bulk of his work on mathematics. In 1696 he was appointed Master of the Royal Mint, and moved to London, where he resided until his death. Of these Cambridge years, in which Newton was at the height of his creative power, he singled out 1665-1666 as “the prime of my age for invention”. During two to three years of intense mental effort he prepared Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica commonly known as the Principia.

Timeline and Facts about Isaac Newton

December 25, 1962: Isaac Newton is born at Woolsthorpe prematurely and posthumously.

1655: Newton attends Grammar School at nearby Grantham.

June 5, 1961: Newton matriculates at Trinity College, Cambridge.

April 28, 1664: Newton is elected scholar.

January 1665: Newton takes his Bachelor’s Degree

August 1665: Newton departs Cambridge due to the Plague and moves back temporarily to Woolsthorpe.

March 20, 1666: Newton returns to Cambridge and stays until June.

June 1666: Newton travels to Woolsthorpe where he stays until April.

April 1667: Newton returns to Cambridge.

October 2, 1667: Newton is elected minor Fellow of Trinity College; he writes Enumeratio curvarum.

March 16, 1668: Elected major Fellow of Trinity College.

July 7, 1668: Newton is granted Master’s Degree, Cambridge.

February 23, 1669: Newton describes his reflecting telescope in a letter to Henry Oldenburg, first Secretary of the Royal Society.

July 31, 1669: De analysi sent is to John Collins.

October 29, 1669: Newton is elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

November 1669: Newton’s second visit to London where he meets John Collins.

January 1670: Newton gives the first of his Optical Lectures.

1671: Newton writes De methodis; in December he sends his reflecting telescope to Royal Society.

January 11, 1672: Newton is elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

February 6, 1672: Newton sends Oldenburg his first letter on Light and Colors, which is criticized harshly by Robert Hooke.

February 8, 1672: Newton publishes his letter on Light & Colors in the Philosophical Transactions.

March 25, 1672: Account of new reflecting telescope published in the Transactions.

December 10, 1672: Newton sends letter to John Collins on method of tangents.

December 9: 16, 1675: Newton’s Hypothesis explaining the Properties of Light is read before Royal Society.

June 13, 1676: Newton sends his Epistola prior to Oldenburg.

October 20, 1676: Newton sends his Epistola posterior to Oldenburg.

June 4, 1679: Newton’s mother, Hannah, is buried at Woolsthorpe.

November 24, 1679: First of a series of letters exchanged with Robert Hooke on the problem of planetary motion.

January 17, 1680: Newton severs exchange with Hooke.

December 12: Newton begins to observe the Comet of 1680-81; he writes Geometria curvilinea.

1681: Newton observes the Comet until March and corresponds with John Flamsteed on the topic.

December 1682: Newton observes ‘Halley’s’ comet.

January 1684: ‘Coffee House’ meetings between Halley, Hooke, and Christopher Wren concerning the question of the motion of the earth and the problem of the inverse square relation.

August 1684: When did Newton start writing Principia? Newton begins writing Principia.

December 10, 1684: De motu is received by Royal Society; Newton writes his De composito serierum and Mathesos universalis.

February 23, 1685: By this date De motu had been entered in the Register of the Royal Society.

April 28, 1686: Newton presents his Principia, Book I to the Royal Society.

May 19, 1686: Royal Society decided to publish Principia.

May 22, 1686: Edmond Halley began to correspond with Newton on Principia.

June 2, 1686: Edmond Halley instructed by Royal Society to publish Principia.

June 30, 1686: Principia licensed by Samuel Pepys, President of Royal Society.

March 1, 1687: Book II of Principia sent to Edmond Halley.

April 4, 1687: Book III of Principia sent to Edmond Halley.

April 11, 1687: Newton is appointed by Cambridge Senate as one of the representatives in the Francis affair.

April 21, 1687: Newton appears before Ecclesiastical Commission.

July 5, 1687: The Principia appears in print.

September 28, 1687: Newton begins lecturing on De mundi systemate.

1688: An anonymous reviewer for the Journal des scavans raises objections concerning Newton’s Principia.

1689: Newton meets John Locke, the noted philosopher, for the first time.

June 12, 1689: Newton meets Nicolas Fatio de Duillier at a meeting of the Royal Society.

March: April 1690: Newton is again in London and meets Fatio de Duillier, the brilliant Swiss mathematician.

November 14, 1690: Newton sends John Locke Two Notable Corruptions.

January 1691: Newton visits John Locke at Oates.

August 1691: First meeting with David Gregory in London.

September 1691: Newton again visits Fatio de Duillier in London.

January 26, 1692: Newton asks John Locke to return his Two notable Corruptions.

March 2: 3, 1692: Pitcairne visits Newton at Cambridge and Newton allows him to copy De natura acidorum.

December 10, 1692: Newton’s First Letter to Richard Bentley concerning natural theology and the design of the universe.

1693: Newton sends three additional letters to Bentley: 17 January, 11 February, 14 March, the letters are known as ‘Newton’s Letters to Bentley’.

July – August 1693: Newton suffers emotional breakdown.

September 13 & 16 1693: Letters to John Locke and Samuel Pepys reveal and demonstrate the depth of Newton’s emotional breakdown.

November 23 & December 16 1693: Letters advising Pepys on probability theory

May 1694: David Gregory visits Newton in Cambridge.

September 1, 1694: Newton visits John Flamsteed at Greenwich.

1695: Newton reworks his Enumeratio curvarum; he writes his Tabula refractionum.

March 19, 1695: Newton is offered an appointment as Warden of the Mint by Charles Montagu; Newton accepts.

April 20, 1695: Newton departs Cambridge for London to occupy the position at the Mint.

January 30, 1697: Newton receives and solves the famous ‘Lion’s Paw’ problem present by Bernoulli.

December 4, 1698: Newton visits John Flamsteed.

February 21, 1699: Newton is elected Foreign Associate of the Académie des sciences.

November 30, 1699: Newton is elected to the Council of the Royal Society.

February 3, 1700: Newton is appointed Master of the Mint.

November 26, 1700: Newton elected to Parliament by Cambridge Senate.

December 10, 1700: Newton resigns his position as Lucasian chair of mathematics.

1702: Newton publishes Lunae theoria.

March 3, 1703: Robert Hooke dies; Newton decides to go forward in publishing his work on optics.

November 30, 1703: Newton is elected President of Royal Society.

1704: February Newton publishes the first edition of his Opticks.

April 12, 1704: Newton visits John Flamsteed, Royal Astronomer, at Greenwich.

January 23, 1705: Newton recommends publication of John Flamsteed’s Observations.

April 16, 1705: Why is Isaac Newton Known as “Sir Isaac Newton”? Newton is Knighted by Queen Anne in Cambridge which is why he is known as Sir Isaac Newton.

1706: First Latin edition of Newton’s Opticks with its Queries.

1707: Newton publishes Arithmetica universalis.

October 11, 1709: Newton and Roger Cotes, a former disciple of Bentley, correspond regarding a new edition of the Principia.

September 1710: Newton publishes: De natura acidorum, Enumeratio and De quadratura Lexicon technicum.

1711: Newton publishes Analysis per quantitatum.

September 1712: Nicolas Bernoulli visits Newton and raises problems with Book II, Proposition X.

January 1713: Newton publishes Commercium epistolicum.

July 11: 14, 1713: Newton publishes second edition of Principia.

June 5, 1716: Roger Cotes dies; Newton famously remarked, ‘If he had lived we might have known something’.

November 14, 1716: G-W Leibniz, Newton’s most able foe in controversy, dies.

May 16, 1717: Newton publishes second English edition of Opticks with eight queries.

1719: Newton publishes second Latin edition of the Opticks.

1720: Publication of the first English edition of Universal Arithmetic.

1721: Newton publishes third English edition of Opticks.

1722: Publication of second edition of Commercium epistolicum with the addition of the Recensio.

March 7, 1722: Newton has his famous discussion with John Conduitt.

May 27, 1722: Newton suffers inflammation of his lungs; he moves to Kensington in south London.

March 31, 1726: Newton publishes third edition of Principia.

March 2, 1727: Newton attends Royal Society for last time.

March 18, 1727: Newton’s health fails, he collapses and borders on death.

March 20, 1727: When and how did isaac newton die? Isaac Newton dies at Kensington between 1:00 and 2:00am.

April 4, 1727: Where is Newton’s body buried? Newton’s body is buried at Westminster Abbey.

Inventions By Isaac Newton

Newton laid the foundations for differential and integral calculus.

The ‘method of fluxions’, as he termed it, was based on his crucial insight that the integration of a function is merely the inverse procedure to differentiating it.

Newton produced simple analytical methods that unified many separate techniques previously developed to solve apparently unrelated problems such as finding areas, tangents, the lengths of curves and the maxima and minima of functions.

In 1687 Newton summarized his discoveries in terrestrial and celestial mechanics in his Principiae. In his Principia Newton explained a wide range of previously unrelated phenomena: the eccentric orbits of comets, the tides and their variations, the precession of the Earth’s axis, and motion of the Moon as perturbed by the gravity of the Sun. This work made Newton an international leader in scientific research.

The first part of the Principia is devoted to dynamics and includes Newton’s three famous laws of motion; the second part to fluid motion and other topics; and the third part to the explanation of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

Isaac Newton Quotes

  • “This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
  • “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
  • “No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess”
  • “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”
  • “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”
  • “The seed of a tree has the nature of a branch or twig or bud. It is a part of the tree, but if separated and set in the earth to be better nourished, the embryo or young tree contained in it takes root and grows into a new tree.”
  • “Errors are not in the art but in the artificers.”
  • “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.”
  • “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
  • “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.”