Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientists of all time. He is
best-known for his discovery of the law of universal gravitation and the
laws of motion. Much of modern science is based on the understanding and
use of his laws.
Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642, in the small English
town of Woolsthorpe. His father, a farmer, died shortly before Isaac was
born. When the boy was three years old, his mother remarried and moved to
another town. Isaac stayed on at the farm in Woolsthorpe with his
grandmother. After attending small country school, he was sent at the age
of twelve to the Kings School in the near by town of Grantham.
At first Isaac was a poor student. He cared little for school work,
perferring to paint, make kites, write in notebooks, or invent toys. He
made no friends. Silent and dreamy, he was at the bottom of his class.
Oddly, it was a savage kick by a school bully that caused Newton's great
mind to awaken. The mild, dreamy boy flew into a rage and beat the other
boy thoroughly. Isaac determined to beat the bully in school work as well.
Soon Isaac was at the head of his class.
In 1656 Newton's stepfather died. His mother returned to
Woolsthorpe to take care of the farm left by Newton's father. But she could
not manage the farm by herself. Isaac was taken out of school and brought
home to help her.
As a farmer, Newton proved to be a dismal failure. He neglected the
necessary chores and thought only of books to study and mechanical things
to make. There are many stories about him at that time that show how absent
minded he was becoming. One day while he was leading a horse,