Somewhere in the last few weeks of the semester, when lecturers were cramming topics before exams like train commuters during rush hour, we learned Newton’s method. Used to approximate the roots of numbers, the method involves making an initial guess and then doing a series of calculations repeatedly by hand until the answers start to converge. It was at this moment that I thought, “Sir Isaac Newton really needed a girlfriend.”
I had already enjoyed being exasperated by Newton for most of the term. Perhaps the fact that he was also a student of biblical studies made it more fun to critique him. Perhaps my deep, festering dislike of the universal gravitational constant spilled over onto the whole of calculus, or that I felt he deserved it for being unfair to Leibniz. But really I think it’s because Newton’s method seems like the sort of thing you do on a Friday night when all your buddies are snogging their girlfriends at the back of the theater during Dryden’s Marriage à la mode, and they claim a horse ate your invitation.
(Newton never married, and given he included things like “Making pies on Sunday” and “Punching my sister” among his list of sins (along with wishing people were dead), he kind of comes across to me as the sort of ornery, pedantic-grouchy person who clearly wasn’t “getting any.”)
That being said, deep down in my heart of hearts, I’m glad Newton made his contributions to math, mechanics and optics. Not to mention, it’s not technically even his method (neither is calculus, but hey, we’re trying to reconcile here).
Jump forward to the 1970s when C programming language is invented and then again to the present when said language is being taught to first year engineering students, and we finally have some hope for Newt. One of our first assignments learning C was to write a program that could implement the Newton-Raphson method, and it was a surprisingly simple program to write. If Newton had lived today, he could’ve probably punched it out with time to spare during a pre-date perm at the salon, giving him more time to charm the ladies. Point one for love.
I do concede that Newton’s lifestyle may have been perfectly suitable for both him and the field of physics. Still, I can’t help but thinking he could’ve been more cheerful. His name means “he laughs” for goodness’ sake; in Hebrew, it’s supposed to sound like a laugh. And, though he may have been the best he could’ve been at the time, I still feel he would have been more of a happy studmuffin had the powers of computers been available to him. Here are five more examples of how the solemn physicist may have benefited:
Had he lived in the modern day, Sir Isaac Newton could have…
1. Swiped left for Leibniz.
Hell hath no fury like Newton on Tinder.
Really though, I think Tinder would’ve been a good outlet for his pettiness and one of the best possible chances for making a love match. Leibniz, too, would’ve benefited from the swipe-right/swipe-left option. If Newton had swiped left for him (as I assume he would have), the two may never have fought to the point that lead to Leibniz’s dishonor. Then again, Tinder does live in the same world as Twitter, so perhaps the battle would have been worse. In either event, I think Isaac may have been less concerned with totally destroying someone’s career in the world of social media (assuaged by his right-swiping matches perhaps?), and the argument about who invented calculus may (?) have been easier to referee in the public sphere. It would’ve at least been highly entertaining.
2. Worked his hair.
Okay, so the painting of Newton from his early years suggests his looks weren’t half bad. The hair, on the other hand, probably could’ve used some work. Personally, I think he’d have benefited in the love department if his hair had been less “mid-century poodle” and more Prince Adam from Beauty and the Beast. And with everything from Photoshop to Pinterest boards, film inspirations to numerous online articles, Isaac would’ve had ample resources to get his suave going.
But that’s just my opinion. If he was fond of his look, he could’ve capitalized on that, too. I’m thinking hairspray endorsements… curl-setting gels… how-to videos on hair care. Heck, I would’ve followed him. That sort of volume… well, it defies the laws of physics, quite frankly. And the hairstyle could’ve maybe worked, in a sexy, Quaker Oats sort of way.
A money-making sideline that would’ve put him in touch with lots of women? Not a bad option, if you ask me.
3. Written helpful chat bots.
From viewing adverts and writing comments to fixing rogue Wikipedia articles, bots have a pretty big place in the internet. Newton could’ve probably written a few to get his game going while he worked on his math, and then taken over himself if things got serious. A bot could’ve scoured the far reaches of the network to find the one and only girl who’d find appealing something like “Hey Girl, did you invent gravity? Because I think I’m falling for you,” while he actually worked on his theory for gravity.
For. The. Win.
4. Shown his rainbow love.
Rainbow movements are a pretty big deal these days , and given he basically discovered the rainbow, I can’t help but feeling this fact would’ve made him a bit of a rock star in the present day. Not to mention he could’ve used it to promote his work (Facebook profile anyone?). And, if Newton was a homosexual as some people speculate, it may have been helpful in the love department as well. Pulling together intellectual and carnal passions into one is a pretty potent combo. What a way to find a soul mate.
5. Channeled Juice.
Let’s be honest, for as weird and wonderful as internet-connected computers can be, it’s still a tough world. People are mean. There are insults, rejection, judgmental looks from people you would never in a million years meet in polite company.
In this regard, I think Youtube videos may have helped, where people sing out all the emotions you could ever have in ballads that bring all the feels. In terms of facing rejection, I’m not sure anyone does it with more dignity than the equally poofy-haired “Angel of the Morning,” Juice…Newton.
Alas, sometimes thinkers live ahead of their time and end up being lonely for it. At least it’s good to know society does usually… mostly… hopefully catch up, and love lives on.