A description of Isaac Newton by a history professor includes this:
“He was an unusual sort, obsessive, but gripped by the power and the beauty of sheer computation. I think that was a driving force behind what he did.
“Once Newton (1642-1727) was onto something, he was gripped by it and he worked at it and worked at it and worked at it until he could solve it or until he had to give up.
“In other words, it was the quest to reach a solution, to break the problem, that gripped him. It’s the same kind of thing that motivates scientists today in very much the same way, only he was maybe more extreme and successful than many…
“Was he a nice guy? No, he probably was not. He led a very self-confined, solitary existence. He didn’t seem to care that much, at least in his youth, about other people. He certainly didn’t, at least until the 1690s, have any significant relationships with anybody else.”
Comments by Dr. Jed Buchwald, an historian of physics and professor of history at the California Institute of Technology – from PBS/Nova program Newton’s Dark Secrets
Related book: Newton’s Apple: Isaac Newton and the English Scientific Renaissance, by Peter Aughton
Related article: In Praise of Positive Obsessions – by Eric Maisel, PhD