was born on this date in 1643.
The NOVA website devoted to Einstein talks also of the genius of Newton.
There is a parlor game physics students play: Who was the greater genius? Galileo or Kepler? (Galileo) Maxwell or Bohr? (Maxwell, but it’s closer than you might think). Hawking or Heisenberg? (A no-brainer, whatever the best-seller lists might say. It’s Heisenberg). But there are two figures who are simply off the charts. Isaac Newton is one. The other is Albert Einstein. If pressed, physicists give Newton pride of place, but it is a photo finish — and no one else is in the race.
Newton’s claim is obvious. He created modern physics. His system described the behavior of the entire cosmos — and while others before him had invented grand schemes, Newton’s was different. His theories were mathematical, making specific predictions to be confirmed by experiments in the real world. Little wonder that those after Newton called him lucky — “for there is only one universe to discover, and he discovered it. “