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Biography - Sir Isaac Newton [VHS]

5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: June 30, 1998
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1565019822
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,148 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

"By the age of 23, he had laid the foundations for calculus, the laws of gravity, motion and inertia, and begun experiments on light. His major work, The Principia, has become to science what the Mona Lisa is to art. Isaac Newton has been called the Father of Modern Science. His incredible body of work represents arguably the greatest contribution to science ever made by an individual. But despite living at the vibrant center of an inspired social scene, his personal life was marked by loneliness. SIR ISAAC NEWTON examines the many discoveries and private fears of this remarkable man. Leading scientists trace the extent and impact of his discoveries, and reveal the self doubt that led him to hold back on publishing many of his findings. It was only after his Principia was recognized as one of the great works in science that he released a number of his earlier findings. BIOGRAPHY; explores the life of the man once called ""Öthe last great magician, the last great mind which looked out on the visible world with the same eyes as those who began our intellectual inheritance"""

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 10, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
It is not possible to conduct a course in the history of mathematics or science without an in-depth study of the life and work of Isaac Newton. Generally considered to be the greatest scientist of all time, his work in mathematics alone would have placed him in the upper tier of scientific figures. His life largely consisted of two distinct parts, the years where he was withdrawn and unwilling to publish followed by those where he was an icon and readily destroyed his rivals.
Given the short amount of time, the coverage in the tape is impressive. While not spending an inordinate amount of time on his personality, the producers of the tape impart a sound sense of what he was like. Arguably the smartest person who has ever lived, he was socially inept and it is rumored that he only laughed once in his life. Despite that genius and his early years of intellectual reclusion, he also proved to be a superb organizer. Many biographers of Newton tend to ignore his work at the royal mint, where he took an inefficient process for producing coins and turned it into a producer of coinage that all had confidence in. That part of his life is covered in this tape, showing Newton to be one of the first modern CEOs. The role that stable coinage played in the industrial revolution is not to be underestimated and Newton is the person most responsible for creating it in Britain.
Like so many great historical figures, there was an inflection point in Newton's life. Being small and sickly, he was bullied in his early years at school. All that changed when he physically stood up to the bully and after that event, threw himself into his schoolwork, rapidly outdistancing all his classmates and even the teachers.
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Format: VHS Tape
Most children idolize famous athletes, movie stars, and the like. I was different - my two idols were Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. I still believe Newton to be the greatest genius to ever live. Certainly, I was impressed by Newton's accomplishments (the theory of gravity, calculus, the laws of motion, etc.), but I was perhaps more deeply impressed by his unsurpassed commitment to his work. When I read that he would oftentimes forget to eat while he worked days on end, I became convinced that this was the type of man I wanted to become. My own path to scientific accomplishment took a different turn when I got to college, but I still have nothing but the greatest respect for and interest in this great man of science.

This is an excellent look at Newton's life, one that does not shy away from the genius' negative qualities. Newton was a complex man who struggled in terms of his relationships with human beings, living a rather reclusive life devoted solely to his work. The story of his early years helps explain his adult character. His father died before he was born, and he rarely saw his mother between the ages of 3 and 8. In school, he did not socialize with his classmates, devoting himself to his work instead. His brilliance was obvious to his instructors, though, and his mother was eventually convinced that Newton should continue his studies rather than return to run the family farm.

Amazingly, many of Newton's greatest discoveries originated in an 18-month period he spent at home while Cambridge was closed down because of the plague. In private study, he discovered the refraction of light, began to recognize the principles of gravity, and basically invented the refracting telescope.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keith Mirenberg on July 12, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
BIOGRAPHY: SIR ISSAC NEWTON THE GRAVITY OF GENIUS-Was a very good DVD which I would rate at four stars. Other fine biographical films have also been made on the life of Sir Isaac, like NEWTON'S DARK SECRETS. This one was a bit less "entertaining" but filled with interesting facts and good scholarship. Unlike NEWTON'S DARK SECRETS, this film featured few special effects or colorful animations of scientific principles.

THE GRAVITY OF GENIOUS restricted itself to photos, sketches, period woodcuts, and factual source materials. It is more the work of academic science historians than physicists and does not go to any efforts to provide new educational materials or illustrations of basic science. Nevertheless, if you are in for some interesting basic information on the life of Sir Isaac Newton, this is a good film for you.

The film describes his single minded work as a student of physics and math, how he worked tirelessly at university forsaking all social life, and his many great early achievements. These included early studies involving motion, inventing calculus while on leave from university and his first experiments in optics. We are all aware of these facts which make Isaac Newton one of our favorite physicists.

The film also described some of the darker less admirable traits of his later life which indicated that during that time when he was discovering less but publishing more, he worked to justify the status he had attained in important scientific and political circles. This often included making certain that he was recognized for the discoveries he made during his early years, regardless of the impact this had on other important scientist and mathematicians. He destroyed much of the original credit given to Hooke and Leibniz.
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