Sir Isaac Newton, the acclaimed physicist, mathematician and astronomer, may be one of the most renowned scientists of all time, but his extensive research has taken him to strange places, far from what we now consider to be science.
He was also a great master alchemist who pursued the formula to create the temple of Solomon and the secret of the great pyramid. Recently a file that Newton tried to burn is being sold and reveals his research on the pyramid.
Isaac Newton thought that the Great Pyramid was the key to the Apocalypse
Items sold by Sotheby’s document the British scientist’s research on ancient Egyptians and the Bible.
Amid his remarkable legacy of academic production, numerous fragments and unpublished notes – many discovered after his death in 1727 – remain a testament to his long and supposedly obsessive interest in matters of the occult, alchemy and biblical apocalypse theory.
These mystical inclinations – many of which would be considered heretical thinking in Newton’s day – are evidenced in some fragmented handwritten notes that are being auctioned by Sotheby’s.
In this case, the texts are literally fragments, in the sense that they are the scorched survivors of a fire, which are said to have been started by a broken candle accidentally dropped by Newton’s dog, called Diamond.
Whether this supposed chain of events is entirely true is unclear, but what is clear is that the burnt leaves are part of Newton’s lesser-known canon, dealing with obscure theories that today scientists would firmly categorize as pseudoscience.
Messages about a coming apocalypse that could be decoded by architectural measures? Keys to the secrets of the Bible found in the Great Pyramid of Egypt? These may seem like nonsensical notions far from the world of science. But for Isaac Newton, they were true obsessions detailed in three pages of notes sold by Sotheby’s this morning for £ 378,000 (about $ 504,700 USD).
“He was trying to find evidence for his theory of gravitation, but the ancient Egyptians were also thought to have the secrets of alchemy that have since been lost,” Gabriel Heaton, a manuscript specialist at Sotheby’s, tells Harriet Sherwood of the Observer. . “Today these seem like disparate study areas, but they didn’t seem that way to Newton in the 17th century.”
As Peter Dockrill reports for Science Alert, many of Newton’s unpublished notes on alchemy, occult matters, and the biblical apocalypse only resurfaced after his death in 1727. In the time of the British scientist, church leaders would have seen many of his ideas on these issues as heretical.
“Their descendants made sure that very few saw the documents because they were a man-made treasure of dirt,” Sarah Dry, author of The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts, told Wired in 2014. they were replete with evidence of how heretical their views were. “
Newton was possibly the most significant figure in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. He formulated the three laws of motion that form the basis of modern physics, discovered that white light is made up of light of different colors, and helped develop calculus, among many other achievements.
According to the Observer, Newton began studying the pyramids in the 1680s. At the time, he was in self-imposed exile at his family’s home, Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, recovering from an attack on his work by Robert Hooke, a scientific rival and a member of the first scientific institution, the Royal Society. The notes are burned around their edges, damage attributed to Newton’s dog, Diamond, from knocking over a table and knocking over a candle.
Like some other European scholars of his day, Newton believed that the ancient Egyptians possessed knowledge that had been lost in the intervening centuries.
“The search for ancient hidden secrets was a central trope of alchemy, a subject that Newton studied deeply,” Sotheby’s says on the auction listing.
Newton was interested in the cubit, a unit of measurement used by the builders of the Great Pyramid. He believed that it could allow him to discover the exact dimensions of other ancient structures. In particular, he hoped to learn the dimensions of the Temple from Solomon, which he thought might be the key to understanding the biblical apocalypse.
The pioneering scientist also linked his interest in the pyramid with his efforts to understand gravity. He thought that the ancient Greeks had successfully measured the circumference of the Earth using a unit called a stadium, which he believed had been borrowed from the Egyptians. By translating the old measurement, Newton hoped to validate his own theory of gravity.
Newton thought that by quantifying the real cubit, he might be able to refine his own theories about gravitation and, in doing so, provide an unprecedented accurate measurement of the Earth’s circumference – while also unlocking other obscure and “sacred geometric perceptions. ”, Who can finally predict when the world will end, as predicted in the Bible.
Gabriel Heaton, manuscript specialist at Sotheby’s, told the The Observer:
“He was trying to find evidence for his theory of gravitation, but in addition, he believed that the ancient Egyptians kept the secrets of alchemy that were already lost. Today, these areas seem disparate in study – but they did not look that way to Newton in the 17th century. ”
Newton was not the first to have this kind of idea and he was not the last either. Although this pyramidology has already escaped the limits of current science – depending on where you look on the internet, at least – it once consumed the attention of one of the greatest minds on the planet.
The auction listing explains:
“These notes are part of Newton’s surprisingly complex network of interconnected studies – natural philosophy, alchemy, theology – just parts of which he believed to be suitable for publication.
“It is not surprising that he did not publish about alchemy, since secrecy was a widely held principle in alchemical research, and Newton’s theological beliefs, if made public, would have cost him (at least) his career.”