Essay on Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer
Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer is a biography on the life of Sir Isaac Newton. According to the author Michael White, Isaac Newton is one of the most influential people in history (1). He is so because of how much he contributed to science, yet he is not the man history has claimed him to be (White 1). Much of Newton’s image, until 1930, was protected by his disciples and by many biographers that produced inaccurate and false accounts of his life (White 1). There is no question of the greatness of his work, but his personality is more convoluted and twisted than what science historians would have us believe (White 2). This book summary will give a brief rendition of his experiences and tribulations throughout his life.
There is nothing recorded of the first three years of Newton’s life (White 12). The English Civil War was running its course during his birth (White 7). He was baptized January 1st, 1643 (White 12). Early on he had little interest in school (White 20). The subjects he was forced to learn were unimaginative (White 20). It is shocking for most learn that he didn’t have any formal mathematics training till he entered Cambridge and even then, it wasn’t standard during his undergraduate years (White 20). What changed his relationship with the bland learning of his official learning seems like a trivial event (White 21). On the way to school a classmate kicked Isaac in the stomach (White 21). The bully as one place above Newton in the class rankings, and Isaac made it a point to overtake the bully in the rankings (White 22). He did not only overtake him, he also eventually became number one in the school (White 22). Throughout his childhood and teenage years, he had constantly been pulled in different directions (White 28). He clashed with what he learned and with those he was involved with (White 28). He eventually would enter a world beyond what he knew and would flourish in it (White 28).
For Newton he wanted to unravel the laws governing the God’s world (White 64). Passing exams in school and college were just ends to a means which he did with minimal effort (White 65). By the 1660s all the elements were in place for a genius mathematician like Newton create new mathematics (White 81). By 1669 Newton was the most advanced mathematician of his age and was a creator of calculus (White 83). He was appointed as the second Lucasian Professor at Cambridge (White 103). He would later learn about a story about the philosopher stone (White 103). Though he was one of the main reasons for the despoilment of magic and the such, he still had an interest in the occult and in alchemy (White 106).
He knew Alchemy was difficult and would take a large amount of his time, yet this didn’t deter him (White 107). This really influenced his hypochondriac nature (White 132). He influenced many others in his time, but he has also had feuds and conflicts with others (White 163). One of his tests was when he was trying to prove white light was made up of different colors by putting it through a prism (White 165). Early on he didn’t tell anyone of the findings, but a contemporary encouraged him to share them (White 168). Eventually this added to his ego and let him to greater heights with a group in the scientific community after exposure by his contemporary Barrow (White 171). The world would come to learn of Newton through many works on being the Principia Mathematica, which is probably the single greatest work of science ever written (White 191).
His later years he became affected by depression because he found that it would be an impossible dream that a unified explanation of all the forces of Nature, yet his best works were ahead of him (White 254). Newton would transform himself (White 292). He had finally gotten the power he sought after his entire life (White 292). The influence he had would continue for at least two centuries after the conversations had been stilled and the dreams of clippers and kings had faded away (White 292). Newton nearing the end of his journey had reached the pinnacle of becoming an icon of the world (White 293). Even in his final months he continued to think of returning to scientific work (White 359). Newton would eventually die on March 20th, 1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey on April 4th, 1727 (White 360). That is the end the life of one of the greatest minds in the world’s history (White 1).