Isaac Newton – The Remarkable Cambridge Fellow

Early life

Born on the 4th of January in 1643, in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, Isaac Newton is known to be one of the most influential scientists in history, with his discoveries holding unwavering value up to this day. However, his remarkable life was marked by many challenges and hardships, as he was born prematurely. On top of that, his father passed away just three months before Newton was born, leaving his mother Hannah Ayscough Newton to raise him on her own. Even through the hardships, Isaac showed a keen interest in learning and tinkering with various mechanical devices from a very young age. However, his academic curiosity truly began to flourish when he joined the King’s School in Grantham, where he showed great interest in mathematics and science. It was his attitude towards learning and insatiable thirst for knowledge that led him to formulate the laws of motion and universal gravitation, forever changing our understanding of the physical world.

Isaac Newton

Beginning of his academic career

Sir Isaac Newton’s academic career is a true testament to his unparalleled genius and groundbreaking contributions to the fields of mathematics, science and modern physics. After finishing his initial education at the King’s School, in 1661 he joined the Trinity College in Cambridge. Newton’s brilliance quickly became evident at the prestigious Cambridge University, as he immersed himself in the studies of mathematics, astronomy, and physics. However, his most significant discoveries were made after he received his BA degree in 1665, during a period of isolation when the university had to temporarily shut its doors due to the Great Plague. During this time he formulated his fundamental principles of calculus, which laid the foundation for modern mathematical principles, and developed his theories on optics, demonstrating that white light is composed of a spectrum of colours.

Sir Isaac Newton and his academic achievements led to the physicist being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1672, following which he published his remarkable work ”Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica”, which is also referred to as the ”Principia” or ”Natural Philosophy”. In his work, Newton unveiled his discoveries on the laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. This monumental work established Newton as one of the greatest scientists of all time, and his academic legacy continues to shape our understanding of the natural world today.

Discovery of optics

Isaac Newton’s pioneering work in optics revolutionised our understanding of light and laid the foundation for the field of optics as we know it in the modern day. In 1666, during his self-imposed isolation at Woolsthorpe Manor, in hopes of avoiding the Great Plague, Newton conducted a series of experiments with prisms that would forever change the way we perceive light. His most notable achievement was the discovery that white light is composed of a spectrum of colours when passed through a prism. This groundbreaking insight and identification of the seven primary colours of the spectrum led to the creation of the first colour wheel.

Newton also conducted experiments on the nature of reflection and refraction, explaining how light behaves as it travels through different mediums. His influential work, “Opticks,” published in 1704, further explained these findings and introduced the corpuscular theory of light, suggesting that light consists of particles or “corpuscles” that exhibit both wave and particle-like properties. Newton’s contributions to optics not only expanded our knowledge of light but also laid the groundwork for subsequent developments in the fields of physics and optics, ultimately paving the way for the modern understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Isaac Newton optics

Newton’s findings on gravity

Isaac Newton’s work on gravity stands as one of the most significant achievements in the history of science. His remarkable insights into the nature of gravitational forces reshaped our understanding of the universe and laid the foundation for modern-day physics. In 1687, Newton published his masterpiece, “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica,” commonly known as the Principia. In this monumental work, he formulated the laws of motion and introduced the universal law of gravitation.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that every mass in the universe attracts every other mass with a force directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. This law provided a comprehensive explanation for the observed motions of celestial bodies, from the orbits of planets around the Sun to the way objects fall on Earth. It unified the terrestrial and celestial realms, demonstrating that the same physical laws govern both.

Newton’s work with gravity also led to the concept of the inverse square law, which not only described the behaviour of objects on Earth but also explained the motion of celestial bodies within our solar system. His law of universal gravitation provided a solid mathematical framework that enabled precise predictions of planetary motion, confirming the heliocentric model proposed by Copernicus and laying the groundwork for modern astronomy.

Newton’s groundbreaking work on gravity had a profound and lasting impact on the scientific community, paving the way for the development of classical mechanics and inspiring generations of physicists. His laws of motion and the universal law of gravitation remain cornerstones of physics, shaping our understanding of the natural world and contributing to numerous technological advancements.

Newton’s apple tree in Cambridge

The story of Isaac Newton’s apple tree in Cambridge has become legendary in the history of science. According to popular lore, while Newton was a student in Cambridge, he was sitting under an apple tree in the college’s orchard when an apple fell from the tree and struck him on the head. This event is said to have sparked his curiosity and led to his insights into the laws of gravity.

While the tale of the falling apple is widely known, it is important to note that its historical accuracy is debatable. Newton himself never mentioned the apple incident in his writings. Nevertheless, the story has become a symbol of the way scientific discoveries can be inspired by everyday observations.

Today, there is a famous apple tree growing outside the entrance to Trinity College. It is known as the “Newton Apple Tree,” which is said to be a descendant of the original tree that inspired Newton’s findings. This tree serves as a historical and scientific landmark, reminding us of the connection between nature’s mysteries and the brilliant mind of Sir Isaac Newton, whose work revolutionised our understanding of the physical world. Whether or not the apple actually fell on Newton’s head, the legacy of his contributions to science and mathematics is undeniable, and the story of the apple tree continues to capture the imagination of people around the world.

Newton's apple tree in Cambridge

Honouring the famous physicist at The Fellows House

Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most renowned Cambridge University Fellows, who throughout his dedication to science and groundbreaking work on understanding gravity has revolutionised and impacted modern science. All of which shaped our understanding of the world around us and contributed to numerous advancements in technology. To pay homage to these truly remarkable achievements, The Fellows House hotel offers its guests stays in The Newton Superior Studio. Inspired by the famous physicist, this studio creates a perfect fusion of contemporary luxury and homely comforts – to provide guests with everything they may need during their special time in Cambridge. This studio also offers plenty of space to relax and unwind while staying in the unique accommodation celebrating the life and scientific heritage of a renowned Cambridge Fellow. Key features of this Cambridge studio include a sofa bed for additional space, high-end room tech, bedside books, and a well-equipped kitchen area. Here you will even find a recipe book, perfect for conducting your own culinary science experiments. The roomy bathroom also includes a selection of free grooming products to help you get settled in.

Newton superior studio at our hotel

Inspired by the globally known physicist, we strive to provide our guests with any technological advancements that would make their stay more comfortable. Therefore guests at The Fellows House will be able to park their vehicles in our secure on-site car park, as well as charge their electric vehicles at our on-site EV charging stations.


Afternoon Tea

Offered from Thursdays through to Sundays from 12:00 to 16:30 at The Folio Bar & Kitchen.