Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics and mathematics, and arguably the greatest scientist of all time, was born on Christmas Day.Ms. Judson suggests that an alternative reason for our annual winter holiday could be to have an extended festival in honor of Newton.
...Newton was born in England on Christmas Day 1642 according to the Julian calendar...But by the 1640s, much of the rest of Europe was using the Gregorian calendar (the one in general use today); according to this calendar, Newton was born on Jan. 4, 1643.
After all, the festival of Christmas properly continues for a further 12 days, until the feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6. So the festival of Newton could begin on Christmas Day and then continue for an extra 10 days, representing the interval between the calendars.For an explanation of why the Julian calendar was supplanted, plus a summary of Newton's career (including his interest in religion and alchemy), I recommend Ms. Judson's column.
She even suggests a song in honor of Newton’s Birthday festival. The final verse begins:
On the tenth day of Newton,For another article on Newton, you might consult Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
My true love gave to me...