During his investigation in optics, Newton also developed an alternative telescope design, which side-stepped some of the inherent flaws of the prevalent refraction-based design. What is now known as the Newtonian telescope is designed with a paraboloid mirror at the base which reflects the incoming light onto a slanted flat secondary mirror. This flat mirror ultimately reflects the collected light to an eyepiece for observation. Besides solving the problem of chromatic aberration – the bane of refracting telescopes, it is also comparatively cheaper to build.
When it came to his intellectual rivals, Newton could be jealous and vindictive. Among those with whom he feuded was German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz; the two men had a bitter battle over who invented calculus. Newton developed a version of calculus in the 1660s but didn’t publish his work at the time. In the 1670s, Leibniz formulated his own version of calculus, publishing his work a decade later. Newton later charged that the German scholar had plagiarized his unpublished writings after documents summarizing it circulated through the Royal Society. Leibniz contended he’d reached his results independently and implied that Newton had stolen from his published work. In an effort to defend himself, Leibniz eventually appealed to the Royal Society and in 1712 Newton, who’d served as the organization’s president since 1703, agreed that an impartial committee would be assembled to look into the issue. Instead, he packed the committee with his supporters and even penned the group’s report, which publicly credited him with discovering calculus. Today, however, Leibniz’s system of calculus is the one commonly used.