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Bible-Loving Scientist Chased Counterfeit Currency

“I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever”


Gravity....“For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction”. So, when Isaac’s feet pushed on the ground, the ground pushed back. This enabled him to move around. So, gravity motivated him anywhere he wanted to go.

It’s a good thing he had gravity. Otherwise, the lack of friction would deprive him of the force to move instead of just flailing about aimlessly.

He realised that gravity not only pulled things to the Earth, but that all masses have a gravitational field, and that gravity is what keeps the moon and the planets in orbit around the Sun.

He devised a highly exact mathematical theory showing all this and even co-invented calculus in the process.

In the course of his pursuit, he discovered a great many properties of nature and formulated general rules for describing the behaviour of natural phenomena.

His quest for ancient knowledge and the desire to decipher a code hidden within the Bible is what focused his motivation towards a greater understanding of the universe and natural phenomena.

Despite being a scientist, Newton was extremely religious. Newton himself said:

Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.

Newton had an uncanny obsession with Bible. For Newton, the world of science was by no means the whole of life. He spent more time on theology than on science; indeed, he wrote about 1.3 million words on biblical subjects. Yet this vast legacy lay hidden from public view for two centuries until the auction of his nonscientific writings in 1936.

Newton’s understanding of God came primarily from the Bible, which he studied for days and weeks at a time. He took a special interest in miracles and prophecy, calculating dates of Old Testament books and analyzing their texts to discover their authorship. In a manuscript on rules for interpreting prophecy, Newton noted the similar goals of the scientist and the prophecy expositor: simplicity and unity.

His study of Bible actually helped him predict a few things. For instance, he predicted that Lord Christ was crucified exactly on 3 April, AD 33. He also predicted that Apocalypse is not hitting mankind anytime sooner than 2060 AD.

Do you really think that Newton’s predictions were mere outcomes of his passion and obsession? Think again! It was Newton who first predicted that Jews will take back Israel and it turned out to absolutely correct!

He learnt Hebrew just because he wanted to find out the hidden meanings in Bible. He actually spent more than half his life hunting those hidden meanings rather than working on science.

He was born a preemie to poorly educated parents

Newton was born in the English county of Lincolnshire, the only son of a farmer, also named Isaac Newton, and his wife, Hannah Ayscough. Born three months premature, he was so small at birth that he could have fit inside a quart mug, his mother reportedly said. His father was illiterate, and his mother was barely able to read, Gleick told HuffPost Science. "He was able to go to university because his mother remarried and so there was some money," Gleick said.

He waited tables

As a student at the University of Cambridge, Newton had to wait tables. He was a "sizar," the term used to describe an undergraduate who received financial assistance in return for performing menial duties. In Newton's case, that included being a waiter and taking care of other students' rooms.

Even at a young age, he was deeply religious

He felt compelled to jot down a list of his sins in one of his notebooks. Already a student at Trinity College at Cambridge University at the time, he divided these sins into acts that happened before and after Whitsunday 1662, or the seventh Sunday after Easter. Newton took even small lapses quite seriously, such as having unclean thoughts or using the Lord’s name. The list also showed a darker side of Newton, including him making threats to burn his mother and stepfather in their home.

Master of the Mint in 1700

Newton played a significant role in recovering Britain from financial crises in the 17th century. At that time, almost 10% of Britain’s currency was forged. Newton had to recall the old currency and issue a more reliable one. He kept a database of offenders and prosecuted them. Later, he was appointed as Master of the Mint in 1700 and held this post for the rest of his life.

A foundation of modern science

‘The Principia Mathematica’ was published by Newton in 1687. This book was the work of thinking for almost 20 years and it took two years for Newton to compile the book. This book contained the concept and theories of universal gravitation, the three laws of motion and his theory of calculus. This book fostered his reputation, and is a source of knowledge and inspiration to millions of scientists, today.

A big time weirdo

He purposefully stuck a blunt needle known as bodkin in his eye socket. Why did he do that? He was actually experimenting with properties of light and used himself as a guinea pig. James Gleick, author of Newton’s biography released in 2003, said in an interview that Newton did this because people at that time were not really sure whether the eyes were responsible for collecting light or creating it and Newton wanted to find that out. Newton wrote in his journal:

I tooke a bodkine gh & put it betwixt my eye & [the] bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: & pressing my eye [with the] end of it (so as to make [the] curvature a, bcdef in my eye) there appeared severall white darke & coloured circles…

He practiced alchemy

Newton was very much into alchemy. So, what’s alchemy? It is a pseudoscience which deals with the study of converting lead and other base metals into gold. He actually wrote 169 books on it, none of which were ever published during his lifetime because under act 1404, making gold and silver was considered a felony.

He had two nervous breakdowns

In 1678, after engaging in a dispute over aspects of his theory of optics, Newton is believed to have suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1693, he had another, after which he retired from scientific research. Newton blamed his second breakdown on lack of sleep, though historians mention other possible causes, including chemical poisoning from experiments as well as the accumulated effects of chronic psychological depression.

Why 'Sir’ Isaac Newton'?

The "Sir" in front of Isaac Newton's name is an honorific, indicating that he had been made a knight by the British monarch.

He was a politician too

He once became a politician and served for one complete year. In 1689, he became a Member of Parliament. Newton spoke only one sentence. He actually asked an usher to close a drafty window that was open.

Newton was given a send-off fit for a king

He was a famous and wealthy man at the time of his death in 1727, and he was mourned by the nation. His body lay in state in Westminister Abbey, and the Lord Chancellor was one of his pallbearers. Newton was laid to rest in the famed Abbey, which also hosts the remains of such monarchs as Elizabeth I and Charles II. His elaborate tomb stands in the abbey’s nave and features a sculpture of reclining Newton with an arm resting on a stack of his great printed works. The Latin inscription on the tomb praises him for possessing “a strength of mind almost, and mathematical principles peculiarly his own.”

Isaac Newton as a Crime Fighting Detective

In 1696, the 53-year-old Newton left academia for an extremely well-paid position at the Mint. While seemingly a literal license to print money, Newton soon found that this was by no means an "all play, no work" position. Counterfeiters were everywhere, fake money was drowning the real currency, and the country was facing the kind of cash crisis that tends to incite revolutions. So Newton set to work, not just inventing ways to make counterfeiting more difficult, but personally tracking down the forgers.

Thus, the world's greatest scientist turned into the world's greatest detective. He acquired an enormous network of spies squealing to him about every rotten penny in a 50-mile radius. He took to the streets, hunting for clues and information. And he was efficient as hell -- in his four years on the job, he and his troops captured and executed a total of 27 forgers.

That's right -- "executed." This presumably earned Newton the undisputed "most kills by a theoretical physicist" championship until the Manhattan Project came along.

Newton even had a Moriarty to his Sherlock Holmes: William Chaloner, a genius forger that had acquired an obscene fortune and many influential friends. Chaloner had a degree of untouchability due to his past as a government informant, and as such, he freely challenged Newton. He published pamphlets that advertised his talents, and even once appeared before a House of Commons committee offering his services to reform the corruption at the Mint, thus essentially announcing his plans to take Newton's place. Newton ended up winning their mental chess by spending two whole years building up an ironclad case against Chaloner, freely intimidating his lieutenants' wives and mistresses so that they would give up the criminal mastermind. Then he got his adversary hanged.