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Gravity: the attraction of one body to another. Gravity gives objects weight and causes them to fall to the ground if dropped... more

Physics: the part of science that deals with properties, changes, and interactions of matter and energy... more

I Thought Newton Only Discovered Gravity

isaac newton illustration

An engraving of Sir Isaac Newton by Caroline Hulot.

Yes, Sir Isaac Newton is best known for his work on gravity, but he worked on and discovered many other scientific wonders during his lifetime (1642-1727). He was also the first scientist to be knighted, which is a great honor in England and the reason "Sir" precedes his name.

What Else Did Sir Isaac Newton Discover?

Besides his work on universal gravitation (gravity), Newton developed the three laws of motion which form the basic principles of modern physics. His discovery of calculus led the way to more powerful methods of solving mathematical problems. His work in optics included the study of white light and the discovery of the color spectrum. It was his experiments with light that first made him famous.

How Did Newton Discover the Color Spectrum?

Newton performed an experiment using a glass prism. For the experiment he placed a glass prism in front of a beam of light projected through a tiny hole in a window shade. You can perform a virtual version of the experiment below. You just need to place the mouse cursor over the prism to darken the room and reveal the color spectrum.

prism mouse-over

View Citation

You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Sir Isaac Newton: Discoveries
  • Author(s): CJ Kazilek, Kim Cooper
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: December 17, 2009
  • Date accessed: June 12, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

CJ Kazilek, Kim Cooper. (2009, December 17). Sir Isaac Newton: Discoveries. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved June 12, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

CJ Kazilek, Kim Cooper. "Sir Isaac Newton: Discoveries". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 17 December, 2009.

MLA 2017 Style

CJ Kazilek, Kim Cooper. "Sir Isaac Newton: Discoveries". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 17 Dec 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 12 Jun 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
Newton's Discovery of the Refraction of light, a painting by Pelagio Palagi painted in 1827

Painting of Newton's Discovery of the Refraction of Light by Pelagio Palagi (1827).

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