A body will stay at rest until an external force applies pressure to it, and for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction — in the modern world, most people know these basic precepts of physics. It was Sir Isaac Newton — born Jan. 4, 1643, and the preeminent physicist and mathematician of his day — who first laid them out.

The son a farmer in England who died before he was born, Newton was an extremely small infant and was not expected to survive, according to Biography.com. His mother would eventually remarry and move in with a minister, leaving the young Newton in the care of his grandmother, which historians say may have led to a sense of insecurity that lasted into later life.

After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Newton would eventually formulate the laws of motion and universal gravitation in his book “The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy," which attempted to explain how things move. So on the anniversary of his birth 373 years ago, here are 10 Newton quotes, compiled from BrainyQuote and GoodReads.



1) “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

2) “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

3) “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

4) “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.”

5) “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.”

6) “Genius is patience.”

7) “If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.”

8) “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”

9) “To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty & leave the rest for others that come after you.”

10) “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”