The World Votes for Newton as Greatest Briton

Article excerpt


HE is most famous for developing the theory of gravity.

But Sir Isaac Newton was a man of many parts.

His other achievements included developing the basis for mechanics and inventing the reflecting telescope and calculus.

Now the renowned scientist and mathematician, who died in 1727, has been voted the greatest Briton ever in a worldwide poll conducted by the BBC.

Newton edged out Sir Winston Churchill, who won the British contest last year when Newton came in eighth.

The BBC began broadcasting the Great Britons programmes around the globe three months ago.

The same ten programmes as the British version, with presenters including Tory MP Michael Portillo and presenter Jeremy Clarkson arguing for their favourite Briton, were screened and viewers asked to vote via the Internet by Tuesday.

While the UK audience handed victory to statesman Churchill, global viewers had other ideas of what makes a Briton great.

Votes from as far afield as Argentina and India preferred Newton, seen as one of the most influential scientists who ever lived.

He was most popular in Cyprus, Estonia, Holland and India.

There was a late surge of voting for John Lennon after his programme was shown last Saturday.

As a result, he rose from eighth to sixth place, pushing engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel into seventh place.

Princess Diana, who came third, was hugely popular with voters in Argentina and South Africa, while fourth-placed William Shakespeare was a firm favourite in France, Italy and the former Yugoslavia. …