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Dictionary of World Biography
a professorship of Johns Hopkins University. He
studied the motions of the sun, moon and planets and
tabulated those of the sun, Mercury, Mars and Venus.
He also worked with A. A. *Michelson in determining
the velocity of light. His popular books included
Astronomy for Everybody (1903), he also edited the US
Nautical Almanac.
Newcomen, Thomas (1663–1729). English inventor,
born in Devon. He invented the first practical steam
engine, which he erected in 1712 after 10 years of
experiment. Its main purpose was to pump water
from mine shafts (e.g. of the tin mines of his native
country). Its principles were later modified to achieve
greater efficiency for wider use (*Watt). Owing to
patenting difficulties, Newcomen made little or no
financial profit from his invention.
Ne Win (‘Brilliant as the Sun’, originally Shu Maung)
(1911–2002). During World War II, he collaborated
with the Japanese, then began a guerrilla campaign
against them. Premier 1958–60, 1962–74, he
organised a military coup in 1962 and cut Burmese
contacts with the outside world. President 1974–
81, he remained the dominant influence under the
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
military dictatorship. Although he retired from public
life in 1988 he continued to exercise power behind
the scenes.
Newman, Barnett (1905–1970). American painter.
One of the New York school of Abstract Expressionists,
he became a pioneer of colour field painting,
characterised by large masses of unmodulated colour.
Newman, Ernest (William Roberts) (1868–1959).
English music critic. For 50 years his comments in
well known newspapers, especially the Sunday Times,
on current performances and more general articles
did much to guide British musical appreciation. He
wrote a definitive life of *Wagner (4 volumes, 1933–
46), an authoritative monograph on Hugo *Wolf and
studies of *Beethoven, *Liszt and Richard *Strauss.
Newman, V., Ernest Newman: A Memoir. 1963.
Newman, John Henry (1801–1890). English
theologian and cardinal, born in London. Educated
in Ealing, he studied at Trinity College, Oxford and
was elected a Fellow of Oriel in 1822. As rector of
St Mary’s, Oxford 1828–43, and in spiritual charge
at Littlemore, he won an immense reputation as a
preacher. In 1833 he heard a sermon on ‘National
Apostasy’ by *Keble which he regarded as the starting
point of the Tractarian (or Oxford) Movement, in
which he played so pre-eminent a role. Its purpose
was to reinvigorate the Anglican Church and, by
turning back to the early Christian Fathers (of whose
works Newman had made a profound study) as the
custodians of doctrine, to reconcile the beliefs of
the Roman and Anglican branches of the Catholic
Church. Newman wrote many of the Tracts for the
Times, but the same logic that made many of the
movement’s supporters turn to the Roman Church
led Newman eventually (1845) to take the same
step. Ordained priest in 1847, shortly afterwards
he founded an Oratory, a brotherhood of secular
priests without vows (St Philip *Neri). Its branch in
London came to be known as Brompton Oratory,
the main body was at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Here Newman lived in seclusion, partly because
of an estrangement between him and the more
ultramontane Cardinal *Manning. Any suspicion
of Vatican disapproval was, however, removed when
Pope *Leo XIII made Newman a cardinal (1879).
As a writer Newman was a supreme stylist as can be
seen in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864), a vivid and
moving spiritual autobiography written in reply to
Charles *Kingsley, who had challenged his integrity.
His other works include The Dream of Gerontius
(1866), a dramatic poem on the flight of the soul
from the body, which *Elgar set as an oratorio (1900).
In 1852 he gave lectures on the nature of university
education (emphasising the pursuit of truth rather
than professional training or the dissemination of
knowledge) which he expanded and published as The
Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated (1873). His
tenure as rector of the proposed Catholic University
of Dublin 1854–58 was deeply frustrating and he
asked to be relieved. His major theological work was
The Grammar of Assent (1870). Lead, Kindly Light,
written before his conversion, is the best known of
his many hymns. In the last years of his life Newman
was revered by people of all denominations and his
influence did much to encourage the progressive
tolerance that has made possible the present-day
search for a basis for Church reunion. He was
beatified by Pope *Benedict XVI in September 2010.
His brother Francis William Newman (1805–1897),
a Latin scholar and missionary, also left the Anglicans
but became a Unitarian.
Ker, I., John Henry Newman. 1988.
Newton, Sir Isaac (1642–1727). English
mathematician and physicist, born in Woolsthorpe,
Lincolnshire. Posthumous son of a small landowner,
he was brought up in his birthplace after his mother’s
remarriage (1645), by his maternal grandmother.
Already, as a school boy, he had a reputation for
making sundials and water clocks. He went in 1661
to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated
in 1665. When the college closed during the plague
he was back at Woolsthorpe (1665–66) where at the
age of 23 he worked out practically the whole of his
universal law of gravitation. He built upon the work of
*Galileo, but it was his genius to supply a generalised
set of principles and provide a new and infinitely
challenging conception of the universe. Moreover
he devised the tools with which to give his concept
mathematical expressions: by 1665 he had evolved
the binomial theorem and devised the elements of the
differential calculus, which he called fluxions. He also
developed the integral calculus (inverse fluxions).
Because of his inherent dislike of publications,