Skip to main content
Subscribe to our Beano comic! Click Here
Beano Comic

15 Isaac Newton Facts That Defy Gravity!

These incredible Isaac Newton facts will boggle your mind! Check out all these awesome facts about Britain's coolest science!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  September 24th 2023

It's time to find out all about history's coolest, weirdest scientist, Isaac Newton! You might know that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, but what else do you know about this great man? We've got 15 awesome facts all about him and his life, including his fascination with alchemy, his other discoveries, and why he sent people to sleep! And if you liked these, how about checking out these insanely interesting Gladiator facts? Or how about these mystical King Arthur facts? Or for more science, check out these astounding Alan Turing facts! And check out even more facts HERE!

1. He Was Born Prematurely

Isaac Newton was born early, and was apparently so small that he could fit inside a large mug. He was born in Lincolnshire in 1643, during the English Civil War. His mother left the family when he was three, and he disliked his new stepmother, at one point wishing he could burn his father's house down!

2. He Was Part of the Enlightenment

Isaac Newton was alive during a period known as 'The Enlightenment'. This period of history is famous for its scientific advancements and discoveries, of which Newton was a part, as well as philosophical developments and political change like revolutions. Other famous Enlightenment figures include Descartes, Kant and Locke, Hershel and Adam Smith.

3. He Made Lots of Important Discoveries

Isaac Newton might be one of the most important scientists who ever lived. Not only did he discover the effects of gravity, he also made huge advancements in maths, such as calculus, mechanics, where he discovered the laws of motion, and other areas of physics like light refraction. His grandly titled Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) is one of the most important books in the history of science! But he actually owned more books on history than science!

4. He Was an MP

It's less well known that Isaac Newton was also an MP (Member of Parliament) for his Cambridge constituency in 1689 and 1701. The reason this isn't very well known is probably because he didn't do much! In fact, according to legend he apparently only ever said ONE thing in parliament - and that was asking for a window to be closed!

5. The Bubonic Plague Interrupted His Studies

Although we might think of the plague as a medieval disease, it actually cropped up several times throughout history, including the famous plague of 1665. This actually occurred whilst Isaac Newton was studying, which meant that he and his fellow students had to quarantine for their safety. He called this time his 'Wonder Years', and in fact, it was this downtime that may have helped him to make advancements in many of his discoveries! It's a lot more impressive than baking banana bread!

6. An Apple Didn't Fall On His Head

The most famous story about Isaac Newton is that he figured out how gravity works when he was sitting under a tree and an apple fell on his head. While this might be a nice picture, Isaac Newton probably didn't have a 'eureka!' moment - in fact, he probably arrived at the theory over months of research. However, its true that Isaac Newton did observe apples falling from the tree whilst thinking about gravity. The apple tree is still alive today in Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire!

7. He Was Into Magic

Although we think of Isaac Newton as a scientist today, in actual fact he was equally obsessed with magic! Isaac Newton was alive during a period of history where magic and science seemed to exist side by side - lots of scientists like Newton were also superstitious and had been brough up to believe in witchcraft, spirits and alchemy. Newton himself was an enthusiastic alchemist (the process of trying to turn metals into gold) and would do lots of experiments trying to create an elixir of life. Bet YOUR science teacher doesn't do this!

8. He Had Another Job

Apparently being a ground breaking scientist doesn't pay the bills, because Isaac Newton was well known in his time for his second job -, from 1699 until 1727 he was warden of the Royal Mint. This job meant he was involved in the production of England's coins (then based in the Tower of London) and of catching counterfeiters (people who make fake money). In fact, counterfeiting money was such a serious crime that it was punishable by death, and Isaac Newton helped bring down several counterfeiters!

9. He Was Such a Boring Lecturer His Pupils Fell Asleep

Isaac Newton might be one of the most famous people ever to have lived today, but say his name to his students back in the 17th century, and they would probably have groaned! Although Newton had lots of incredible ideas, he didn't seem very good at explaining them, because, as a lecturer at Cambridge, he would often talk to rooms of yawning, sleeping pupils! In fact, sometimes no one at all would turn up to his classes! And what's weirder - he would do them anyway! To no one!

10. He Was Very Religious

As previously mentioned, Newton was alive during a time of religious and scientific upheaval, and although he was a scientist, he was also profoundly religious. He wrote a lot about religion too, and was devoted to exploring the idea that God deliberately created the world as it is and that the future is pre-determined. However, he kept some of these views private, as they would have been controversial at the time.

11. He Was an Introvert

Isaac Newton was famously difficult to get along with. As well as being a boring lecturer, he was also known to be antisocial, shy, and possibly an introvert. He much preferred books to people, and never married, or even seemed particularly interested in anyone romantically. He could also be petty, bad tempered and insecure.

12. His Tooth Sold For a Lot of Money

In 1816 Newton's tooth was sold at auction for a whopping $35,000 (In today's money). That might be one of the most expensive teeth ever! It was set into a ring, so if you REALLY wanted you could wear Isaac Newton's tooth on your finger. If you REALLY wanted...

13. He Had a Nemesis

As we mentioned above, Isaac Newton wasn't super easy to get on with, and you DEFINETLY didn't want to make an enemy of him. But William Chaloner did just that! Chaloner was a counterfeiter of coins, and also a confidence trickster, quack doctor, blackmailer and general ne'er-do-weller. Isaac Newton (as warden of the Royal Mint) made it his personal quest to see Chaloner brough to justice, using his own spies to track Chaloner down. After he was convicted, Chaloner wrote a bunch of letters pleading and insulting Newton, but Newton never replied.

14. He Never Married

Newton didn't seem like he had much time for romance, he was too busy chasing criminals, making discoveries and sending students to sleep. Some people have speculated that Newton might have been gay, but in truth it seems his first and only love was the laboratory.

15. He is Buried in Westminster Abbey

Isaac Newton died in 1727 in London. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and was the first scientist to be buried there. Lots of famous and important people attended his funeral, possibly including the French writer Voltaire. Today he rests alongside fellow scientists like Charles Darwin Stephen Hawking in 'Scientist's Corner'.