Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan
This edition of Biography, the long running documentary series from A&E, explores the life of physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton. In 1665--6 the fall of an apple is said to have suggested the train of thought that led to the law of gravitation. He studied the nature of light, concluding that white light is a mixture of colors which can be separated by refraction, and devised the first reflecting telescope. He became professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1669, where he resumed his work on gravitation, expounded finally in his famous Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (1687, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). In 1696, he was appointed warden of the Mint, and was master of the Mint from 1699 until his death. He also sat in parliament on two occasions, was elected President of the Royal Society in 1703, and was knighted in 1705. During his life he was involved in many controversies, notably over the question of priority in the discovery of calculus.