Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642 (by the Julian calendar then in use; or January 4, 1643 by the current Gregorian calendar) in Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, England. He was born the same year Galileo died. Newton is clearly the most influential scientist who ever lived. His accomplishments in mathematics, optics, and physics laid the foundations for modern science and revolutionized the world.
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.
As mathematician, Newton invented integral calculus, and jointly with Leibnitz, differential calculus. He also calculated a formula for finding the velocity of sound in a gas which was later corrected by Laplace.
Newton made a huge impact on theoretical astronomy. He defined the laws of motion and universal gravitation which he used to predict precisely the motions of stars, and the planets around the sun. Using his discoveries in optics Newton constructed the first reflecting telescope.
Newton found science a hodgepodge of isolated facts and laws, capable of describing some phenomena, but predicting only a few. He left it with a unified system of laws that can be applied to an enormous range of physical phenomena, and that can be used to make exact predications. Newton published his works in two books, namely "Opticks" and "Principia."
Newton died in London on March 20, 1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, the first scientist to be accorded this honor. A review of an encyclopedia of science will reveal at least two to three times more references to Newton than any other individual scientist. An 18th century poem written by Alexander Pope about Sir Isaac Newton states it best: