Sir Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727)
The prolific physicist, who was born in Lincolnshire, provides the academy with an academic influence through his discovery of gravitational laws and mathematical theories.
Newton went to Cambridge University where he became interested in mathematics, optics, physics and astronomy. In 1667, he returned to Cambridge, where he became a fellow of Trinity College. Two years later he was appointed second Lucasian professor of mathematics. It was Newton's reflecting telescope, made in 1668, that finally brought him to the attention of the scientific community and in 1672 he was made a fellow of the Royal Society. From the mid-1660s, Newton conducted a series of experiments on the composition of light, discovering that white light is composed of the same system of colours that can be seen in a rainbow and establishing the modern study of optics (or the behaviour of light). In 1704, Newton published 'The Opticks' which dealt with light and colour. He also studied and published works on history, theology and alchemy.
In 1687, Newton joined forces with the astronomer Edmund Halley and published what is believed to be his greatest single work 'Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica' ('Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy'). The paper explained how gravity, as a universal force, applied to all objects in all parts of the universe.
So highly regarded by so many people, he was appointed as a Member of Parliament for Cambridge University in 1689-1690 and later 1701-1702. He was also a warden for the Royal Mint and successfully campaigned against corruption within the organisation.