Some ideas to help you celebrate the day: Place a Newton ornament on the tree. Discuss the merits of calculus over the dinner table. Use a telescope to view the night sky. Drop some unwanted gifts off the top of a tall building to test the theory of gravity.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas or want an additional holiday, I might suggest Newtonmas. Sir Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642. This would be perfect for public schools that don’t allow religion-based ideas. I mean, look at that hair, he looks like he’s ready to start partying!

Newton was a devout but unorthodox Christian who was a bit of a jerk and into the occult but was also “one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution”.

Contrary to the belief of some people, a celebration of the birthday of Sir Isaac, in the same way, that one would celebrate Christmas (with cards and gifts and so forth), is not a new thing that the science-oriented denizens of Usenet science newsgroups invented.

It’s something that science-oriented people have been doing, here and there, for fun, for almost 120 years now. One can send Isaac Newton cards, sing Newtonmas carols, and give Newtonmas gifts. The first documented celebration of Newtonmas occurred in Japan. In the late 1800’s, a small group of students at the Imperial University in Tokyo formed an Isaac Newton fan club. This fan club rapidly grew in popularity and soon included a mix of undergrads, grad students, and professors.

And so on Christmas Day, 1890 (Gregorian calendar), members of this Newton fan club got together for the first-ever Netwonmas party. According to this article from the time, the party included humorous science lectures, a science-themed gift lottery, and plenty of “laughter and good cheer.” Basically, Newtonmas started out as nerdy fun.

The Ten Days of Newtonmas
  • Ten confessed sins,
  • Nine moons of Jupiter and Saturn moving according to the same law that makes an apple fall,
  • Eight volumes of mathematics,
  • Seven colors of light,
  • Six planets orbiting according to Kepler’s Laws,
  • Five lessons of life,
  • Four rules of reasoning,
  • Three laws of motion,
  • Two branches of calculus,
  • And a universal law of gravitation.

Newton’s Laws of Motion describe only the motion of a body as a whole and are valid only for motions relative to a reference frame.
First Law
Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon them.

The rate of change of the momentum of a body is directly proportional to the net force acting on it, and the direction of the change in momentum takes place in the direction of the net force.

Third law
To every action (force applied) there is an equal but opposite reaction (equal force applied in the opposite direction).

It is important to note that these three laws together with his law of gravitation provide a satisfactory basis for the explanation of the motion of everyday macroscopic objects under everyday conditions. However, when applied to extremely high speeds or extremely small objects, Newton’s laws break down; this was remedied by Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity for high speeds and by quantum mechanics for small objects.

Physics Carols
  • O Gravity
  • Gravity Jingle Bells
  • Oh – Sin Theta-One Times Index One
  • Photons of Light
  • Deck the Physics Lab
  • O Little Physics Reference Sheet
  • We Three Quarks
  • God Rest Ye Merry Physics Profs
  • Deck the Halls V2.1 & V2.2
  • If You Throw a Ball on High
  • Oh, High T-C
  • Awake in the Library
  • Frosty the Photon
  • Oh Feigenbaum
  • Cold Fusion
  • Photocells
  • Oh Physicist
  • The Twelve Days of Newton
  • We Three Deans
  • James Clerk Maxwell
  • We Wish We were Passing Physics
  • Another 12 Days of:
Oh - Sin Theta-One Times Index One 
(Melody: God Rest Ye merry, Gentlemen)

Light travels in straight lines,
that is unless somehow it's turned.
It can reflect (or bounce right back),
But that's quite eas'ly learned.
Refraction is the property
with which we're now concerned:

Oh - Sin theta-one times index one
is equal to
Sin theta-two times index two!

Refraction is the bending
which is caused by changing speed.
When entering at an angle,
light will bend, and then proceed--
to travel in a new straight line,
wherever that may lead.

Oh - Sin theta-one times index one
is equal to
Sin theta-two times index two!

Now since the bending's caused by changing speed, we have a clue
To calculate light's speed in any medium, (it's true!)
n-one v-one is equal to n-two times v-two.

Oh - Sin theta-one times index one
is equal to
Sin theta-two times index two!

When slowing down the light bends 'toward the normal' as they say.
When speeding-up it will bend from the normal away --
Until the angle critical is reached to our dismay!

Oh - Sin theta-one times index one
is equal to
Sin theta-two times index two!

Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Mortals rejoice that there has existed such and so great an ornament of the human race!

inscription on his tomb at Westminster Abbey

Further Reading


Wesleyan University
Planet Pailly
Center for Inquiry

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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