Isaac Newton

Ref: C2225406

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. We shall 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

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

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

  • Identify the key events in Newton’s life
  • Discuss the impact of Newton’s scientific discoveries 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
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre-reading is required but 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?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Isaac Newton


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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