Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/246

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Paris, when it was prohibited in France except by the approbation of the Faculty of Paris, and later occurred two deaths in Rome, whereupon the Pope issued an edict forbidding transfusion within his domains.

December 21, 1671.—The minutes contain this sentence: "The Lord Bishop of Sarum (Dr. Seth Ward) proposed for candidate Mr. Isaac Newton, Professor of the Mathematicks at Cambridge." At this same meeting was shown a reflecting telescope made by Newton to overcome the objections hitherto pertaining to the refracting telescope. Upon receiving the society's hearty congratulations upon his invention, Newton promised to send the philosophical experiments which led to its construction. This promise he fulfilled, and the result was his famous work on "Optics." Newton now was fully launched upon that career as investigator and discoverer which has covered his name with immortal renown. He was yet scarcely thirty years of age. But even as a boy he had displayed an earnest of his future work by constructing windmills, water-clocks, and sun-dials; one of the latter is said to still mark the hours upon the walls of his old manor-house at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire; when only twenty-three he discovered his method of fluxions, by means of which the calculations of the movements of the planets were greatly facilitated, and he already was in possession of the principle of gravitation, which saw light sixteen years later, only because an erroneous estimate of the earth's diameter, which was a factor in his calculations, produced some inexplicable deviation from the result expected.

Newton, like Boyle, never married, but devoted his long life entirely to scientific and philosophical studies. Newton was elected President of the Royal Society in 1703, and successively re-elected until his death in 1727, thus making his presidency exceed that of any other, excepting Sir Joseph Banks, in the history of the society. This honor was not unfittingly bestowed, for there is no other name, in the long list of distinguished Fellows, whose life-work has reflected greater honor upon this already famous society.

In 1675 the Royal Society appealed to the king to establish an astronomical observatory for the study of astronomy and navigation. This the king consented to do, and commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to erect such a building at Greenwich. The Royal Society was given general supervision over its investigations, and evinced its solicitude by furnishing all the instruments used at the observatory during the first fifteen years.

Under Flamsteed as the first astronomical observator, or astronomer royal as the office was afterward called, and Halley as his successor, there began the long and unbroken series of impor-