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Physicists

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1689 Sir Isaac Newton portrait young Featured Physicists Print

1689 Sir Isaac Newton portrait young

Sir Isaac Newton ( 4 January 1643 -31 March 1727). English physicist and mathematician. 18th Century Mezzotint portrait after the painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller 1689, with later colouring. It shows Newton in his prime and is the earliest of the portraits. Newton is famous for his laws of motion and gravitation and remains one of the greatest scientists of all time. His opus magnus was his "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica". Other pursuits included optical physics, alchemy, religious and occult investigation, and preventing forgery while superintendant of the Royal Mint. He was widely viewed as an eccentric genius, but his human remains indicated mercury poisoning from his alchemy may have contributed to his instability. This version retains yellow age toning of original and is in the possession of the photographer

© PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Newtons Opticks with colour Spectrum Featured Physicists Print

Newtons Opticks with colour Spectrum

Opticks by the English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), published in 1704 with a colour spectrum produced by a prism projected across the title page. This work was based on Newton's own experimental investigations into the behaviour of light. In Opticks he discussed topics such as the refraction of light by prisms and the rings of coloured light formed between a lens and a mirror in contact with each other (later termed Newton's rings). In Isaac Newton's time, it was believed that white light was colourless, and that the prism itself produced the colour. Newton's experiments convinced him that all the colours already existed in the light in a heterogeneous fashion, and that "corpuscles" (particles) of light were fanned out because particles with different colours travelled with different speeds through the prism

© DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Nikola Tesla, Serb-US physicist Featured Physicists Print

Nikola Tesla, Serb-US physicist

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), Serb-US physicist and electrical engineer. Tesla was educated at Graz and Prague, but in 1884 he emigrated to the USA. For a while he worked with Edison, but soon left to work on his own. He developed the alternating current (a.c.) induction motor, and helped advance a.c. power generation and transmission. He also worked on high-frequency a.c. currents, inventing the Tesla Coil, a transformer in which the primary and secondary coils are in resonance. He used it to create electric sparks 40 metres long, and in 1899 lit 200 electric lamps over 25 miles without wires. The SI unit of magnetic flux density is named for him. Engraving from Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth Century (1898)

© SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY