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Isaac Newton: The Scientist Who Changed Everything
     

Isaac Newton: The Scientist Who Changed Everything

by Philip Steele
 

Born in England in 1643, Isaac Newton grew up in the age when Renaissance thinkers were challenging accepted ideas throughout Europe. Fascinated by all earthly science, Newton developed laws of motion and universal gravitation which also furthered our understanding of the movement of celestial bodies. This vibrant biography profiles the famed physicist as an

Overview

Born in England in 1643, Isaac Newton grew up in the age when Renaissance thinkers were challenging accepted ideas throughout Europe. Fascinated by all earthly science, Newton developed laws of motion and universal gravitation which also furthered our understanding of the movement of celestial bodies. This vibrant biography profiles the famed physicist as an acclaimed mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, philosopher, and inventor as well. Readers will discover the genius who inspired Alexander Pope to write,

"Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night;
God said 'Let Newton be' and all was light."

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Featuring extrarodinary people throughout history, this series presents information in an easy-to-read, well-organized format." —Library Media Connection

Children's Literature - Magi Evans
Most elementary students have been introduced to the concept of gravity, and probably have a picture in their mind of the apple falling on Newton's head. In this text, Steele includes this legendary episode, and goes on to describe Newton's broader study of the concept, including the different effects of gravity on the moon and the planets. Thanks to Steele's thorough biography, students learn not only about Newton himself and his discoveries, but also about the time in which he lived. For example, in a section titled "The World Turned Upside Down," the author describes the political, religious, and scientific upheaval that took place in the seventeenth century, setting the stage for Newton's brilliant discoveries. Later, a section on the Age of Enlightenment details how Newton influenced scientific thought through the centuries even up to today. Some students may be familiar with his three laws of motion, but are probably not familiar with his improvement on the telescope, his leadership of the Royal Society, and the dispute over his discovery of calculus. Steele has done a masterful job, in just sixty pages, of detailing Newton's childhood, education, and very active scientific adulthood. Excellent photographs and illustrations are included, and a timeline travels across the bottom of each page. The extensive glossary and index will aid students' research. As part of the "World History Biography" series, this volume more than lives up to the quality one expects from National Geographic. Reviewer: Magi Evans
VOYA
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 15.

These two biographies about Joan of Arc and Isaac Newton are prime examples of attractive nonfiction that should particularly appeal to reluctant readers working on school reports. Each book contains illustrations or photos on almost every page, and, more important, the information is carefully divided into digestible portions, such that no one "chapter" extends beyond a two-page spread. A running chronology, containing both milestones in the subject's life as well as relevant historical events, borders the bottom edge of the pages, and call-out boxes define terms or elaborate on events mentioned in the main body of the text. Occasionally Joan of Arc dips a little too far into informality; for instance, the reader is told that when Pierre Cauchon taunted Joan at her trial, she "got him back" by responding in kind. For the most part, however, both books use vocabulary that is neither simplistic nor intimidating, and while the authors' admiration for their subjects is evident, they maintain appropriate objectivity. In Joan of Arc, for example, Wilkinson states matter-of-factly that Joan sincerely believed that she heard voices but notes that the strong religious beliefs of the time meant that more people were inclined to believe her than might be the case today. Similarly Steele describes Isaac Newton's irritable and overly sensitive personality in addition to his scientific genius. Both authors are also careful to note when a particular piece of information cannot be confirmed. The most obvious example is the story of Newton and the now-legendary apple that might have inspired him to investigate the concept of gravity, but the authors alsofrequently state that Joan or Isaac "may have" or "most likely would have" done something based on the living conditions known to exist during the relevant time periods. Overall these biographies, which also include books on Anne Frank, Wofgang Amadeus Mozart, Nelson Mandela, and Mao Zedong, will hopefully show young adults in school and public libraries that research does not always have to be tedious or difficult. Reviewer: Amy Sisson
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Children's Literature - Amanda Peterson
The "National Geographic World History Biography" series presents Sir Isaac Newton as one of the greatest scientists who forever changed the world. Newton, an Englishman, was born in 1642 and died in 1727. This biography traces his life from the early days of making models of windmills to becoming the father of Newton's Laws of Motion. Newton's mind was engaged in all the earthly sciences, especially astronomy and universal gravitation. His genius was commemorated with scholarships to further his education and he was honored with prestigious awards as an inventor, philosopher, and mathematician. The book depicts other aspects of Newton's life and is accompanied by photographs of monuments and paintings of him, his scientific drawings and thoughts, a comprehensive timeline that highlights his achievements, and historical maps that depict what was happening during the era in which he lived. This glimpse of Newton's life encourages students to use science as a springboard for future research as well as to investigate the nature of science. Reviewer: Amanda Peterson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426301148
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
09/11/2007
Series:
NG World History Biographies Series
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
7.28(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
980L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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