*Newton,* depicted as a *divine geometer,* by William Blake (1757-1827)
On this date, the English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian Sir Isaac Newton
(1643-1727) received his M.A. from Trinity College in Cambridge, England. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student, Newton’s private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics, and the law of gravitation. His Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica
, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. In a 2005 poll of the Royal Society of London asking who had the greater effect on the history of science, Newton
was deemed much more influential than Albert Einstein.
Newton acutely recognized knowledge as a vast field to be discovered. He famously said:
I don’t know what I may seem to the world, but, as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.