Day School: Isaac Newton - His Life and Times

Ref: C3741205

This day school explores Isaac Newton's life and works, and the personal convictions that drove his mathematical philosophy and his unorthodox research into alchemy, theology and biblical prophecy. It will cover: It will cover: • Pre-Newtonian (early 17th century) science (particularly the astronomical discoveries and theories of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler) • Newton’s early life • His studies and rapid advancement at Cambridge University • His "Anni Mirabili" - the “miracle years” of 1664-66 • His experiments with light; the laws of motion • Newton’s ascendancy to the peak of status and honours • His disputes with prominent scientists of the day (Liebniz, Hooke and Huygens) • His alchemical and theological obsessions • The Principia Mathematica (1687) and other published works • Newton’s legacy and cultural impact

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by the Skills Funding Agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available - contact the Branch for further details.

Course aim

This day school aims to provide an understanding of the historical context of Isaac Newton’s life and works, and the driving forces behind his scientific, alchemic and theological works.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the key events in the life of Isaac Newton.
  • Understand and discuss Newton’s scientific discoveries and their impact on 17th century (and later) science within the context of the Scientific Revolution.
  • Discuss the extent to which Occult Sciences (alchemy) and Theological Studies occupied Newton’s life and written works
  • Analyse Newton’s legacy today

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No specific reading required, although the following works provide useful background or reference reading: Richard S Westfall, "Never at Rest – a Biography of Isaac Newton" CUP 1980 James Gleick "Isaac Newton" 4th Estate 2003

What can I do next?

  • Consider introductory courses in more general History of Science subjects. Learners could undertake a visit to Woolsthorpe Manor, Newton’s family home.

Download full Course information sheet

Day School: Isaac Newton - His Life and Times


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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