We all know of Isaac Newton as the dude on whose head an apple fell, and so he wondered about gravity. That may or may not be true – there are suggestions that somebody else had been working on the idea of gravity already, and the man came up with a funny anecdote to make people believe he had got on to it first.


Pic via

But three laws of motion that we were forced to memorise in school and gravity aren’t all he figured out, though we do question the veracity of his claims after we found out that the apple story might be fake.


He did, however, have a really cool personal coat of arms. Pic via

But still, here are ten lesser known inventions of Isaac Newton. Or at least, attributed to Isaac Newton.

1. Calculus

It wasn’t just physics headaches that he gave us non-scientifically inclined. You can thank Newton for all those endless calculus tests you had to sit through, because he put down on paper the basics of differentiation and integration that made you want to tear your hair out in math class. He did this while on hiatus from university, by the way.


Thank you, Newton. Just, thank you, so much. Pic via

2. Pet Door

Didn’t see this one coming, did you? Well, this could very well be a factoid rather than a fact: something that has become accepted to be true even if it’s not because pop culture constantly references it as true. According to the story, he had a cat with kittens, and he cut one big hole in a door for the cat, a smaller one for kittens. Silly, but he was thinking of calculus and apples.


  The cat is still not pleased. Pic via

3. The Philosopher’s Stone

He did not actually discover this. But without his failed attempt to find the secret of alchemy – turning lead into gold, or changing the very substance of things to turn them into something else – we possibly would not have the first Harry Potter book, so we’re giving him this one anyway. It sure turned into gold for J.K. Rowling.


Yep, Newton, take a bow. Pic via

4. Refraction of Light

If you want this to sound catchier, think of it this way: he ruined the mystique of rainbows and told people there was no pot of gold at the end of one, because his “Opticks” talks about light, refraction and colours.


Thank Newton for cover art of Dark Side of the Moon via

5. Reflecting Telescopes

Newton struck gold with the idea of building a telescope using reflecting mirrors, instead of just refraction, greatly improving the quality of telescopes. So he is the grandfather of the Hubble. The idea wasn’t his own, though.


Pic via

6. Counterfeit-proof coins

Warden at the Royal Mint was one of those titles that largely meant that you should smile and wave. But Newton, when he was appointed, decided to tackle the problem of counterfeit coins, which was becoming a huge hindrance to the Crown, and worked day and night to make counterfeit-proof coins. He started the move to the gold standard.

 7. How Orbits Work

This started from gravity. From there, he figured out how gravity applies not just to apples, but to the entire world, and that led to discovery of many of the foundations of modern astronomy. He also figured out how equinoxes and tides work, making wiccans around the world giddy with delight or despair, depending on their point of view. Comets were his only sticking point. He still has a comet named after him.


Newton’s Comet Pic via

 8. Law of Cooling

Insert lame ‘cool’ and ‘chilling’ pun here. But the discovery of this law is the root of really cool things like space exploration, so it’s a big deal.

9. Apocalypse

No, he didn’t invent the concept, though he did come up with calculus, so maybe he did come close. What he did was tell all the people who were absolutely freaking out about the end of the world that it was absolutely not happening until 2060, at the very earliest. He was a student of theology, as well, and he applied Newtonian principles to the Bible to figure this out.

10. Memes

No, he didn’t actually discover or invent memes, but the number of memes that use the ‘equal and opposite reaction’ theorem of motion surely means that he can claim part credit even centuries after the fact?


  Thanks, man! Pic via

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