This week was a bit of a departure. In honor of Christmas, I decided to dedicate this episode to the life and times (and accomplishments) of Sir Isaac Newton. Why? Simple! Because Sir Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, 1642 (Julian Calendar), which works out to January 3rd, 1643 today (Gregorian Calendar). Also because I am doing an ongoing segment where I talk about the most influential people in the fields of astronomy and the sciences.

And when it comes right down to it, Newton’s contributions to these various fields (according to countless polls) are comparable only to those of Einstein. But what made his contributions so significant was the way he synthesized the work of previous generations and scientists. Or, as Newton himself put it: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

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