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Isaac Newton (Royal Society set)

Isaac Newton appeared again on a GB stamp in 2010 as part of a set of ten marking the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge (to give the organization its full title). He was there for his contributions to optics, although he could have been chosen for many other achievements. As the presentation pack written by Eugene Byrne put it: ‘Newton methodically and voraciously consumed the knowledge of his age, and then added to it, in everything from mathematics and astronomy through to the government’s management of currency. He is undoubtedly one of the most significant scientists of all time.’ In a 2005 poll, 86 per cent of Royal Society Fellows decided that Newton had made a greater contribution to science than Albert Einstein.

The other Royal Society Fellows on the stamps, and the subjects they pioneered, were as follows: Robert Boyle, chemistry; Benjamin Franklin, electricity; Edward Jenner, vaccination; Charles Babbage, computing; Alfred Russel Wallace, evolution; Joseph Lister, antiseptic surgery; Ernest Rutherford, atomic structure; Dorothy Hodgkin, crystallography; and Nicholas Shackleton, Earth science.

Stanley Gibbons no. 3027