He returned to school and finished his studies, entering the notable Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1661, where he embraced the academic life and embarked on a course of self-improvement, always striving to fill gaps in his knowledge.
Here, he had access to all the latest works in science, philosophy and religion, contributing to a well-rounded education.
Newton’s work on the movement of bodies and gravitation would not become influential until halfway through the next decade when, in 1884, Edmund Halley, later to become the Astronomer Royal, asked for Newton’s input in a particular area of planetary motion.
For a while, mathematicians and physicists had proposed the influence of gravity upon planetary motion, and suspected that a force emanating from the sun influenced the movement of the planets.
As a child, he displayed an aptitude for mechanics, constantly tinkering and creating machines and devices, and constructing elaborate windmills, sundials and waterclocks.
This practical side would influence his later scientific work in physics and alchemy as he voraciously devoured knowledge.
During his school years, he showed inquisitiveness and a thirst for learning, burying himself in his books and neglecting his duties on the family farm.
His potential may have been wasted had his mother had her way and insisted on him becoming a member of the noble Lincolnshire farming community, but his Cambridge-educated uncle had different ideas and saw a great deal of untapped intellectual potential in the boy.
While most of us remember Newton as the discoverer of gravity, his research included mathematics, optics and philosophy in a revisiting of the great polymaths of old, a body of research that led him to create his great opus.
Isaac Newton really was a man who sprang from humble beginnings, as a child of an illiterate farmer, who died three months before Newton was born, but his inborn intelligence and intuition would soon see him rise out of this way of life.