Historical Astronomers in Context

1. Isaac Newton: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27.

2. I admire Isaac Newton (12/25/1642-03/20/1726) a whole lot and here is why:

He was modest enough to build on the work of Kepler’s law, instead of making his own from scratch. Through his work, we were able to have a deeper understanding of gravitation and its effect on planetary motion; The principia which he first published on 5 July 1687 and later in 1713, is what gave him the international recognition that has lasted till present day. In this publication, he talked about how the results of his findings conclude that indeed there is a gravitational attraction. Because he could not indicate the cause of gravity at the time, he described his findings as “hypotheses non-fingo.”


3A.  In 1699, French settlers moved into Mississippi and Louisiana.

  • Louisiana was named in honor of French King Louis XIV.
  • It became a French territory in 1682 when Rene-Robert, Cavalier de La Salle claimed the area.

1648 marked the end of Thirty years’ War.

  • This was a war fought primarily between 1618 and 1648.
  • It resulted in the German population being reduced to about half its size.


3B.   A famous author named Voltaire lived from 21 November 1694-30 May 1778.

  • He was a polygenist. He suggested that each race had entirely separate regions. Because of his beliefs which were considered to be somewhat abnormal at the time, his work as a prolific writer was well-publicized.


4. Learning this helped me to realize the progression of events over the years. Through this historical context, I was able to develop some sort of timeline of astronomical events which served as a foundation for what we know in the present day.


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