The revelation that Sir Isaac Newton, perhaps the greatest scientist of all time, practiced the covert art of alchemy may shock us today, but was this pursuit considered deviant in Newton’s own era? To find out, we spoke to Bill Newman, an historian of science at Indiana University who spent years deciphering Newton's secret coded recipes. More on PBS.

Tags: NOVA, Newton, PBS, alchemy, documentary, gravity, light, science

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Alchemy was considered science for a thousand years.  It wasn't covert or deviant.  People in Newton's time distrusted alchemists the same way they distrusted any kind of scientists because science contradicted Scripture.
I'm sure that's true, and is still true. But the documentary states that in Newton's time it was  crime to practice alchemy, because the King (Charles II, I think) feared that it was being used by counterfiters who were devaluing the currency.
In other words, Charles II, restored to the throne in 1660, thought that alchemists could indeed turn lead into gold, so the ban wasn't for fear of the occult but for fear of damaging the economy.
Honestly, I'm not sure if he actually believed alchemists could turn lead into gold, or if he just feared that fake money that people thought was gold could damage the economy. Either way, govmnts never like counterfitters of any kind.

Just watched this... honestly it was more of a short biography, and didn't really reveal much about Newton's study of alchemy or his occult beliefs.


But YeAAaa another end of the world prediction this time made by the incarnation of the archetypal scientific genius... only 41 years left till Jesus comes back >> what happened to 2012?

Well, I think their point was that all of it was really unknown, that he had kept it a secret all those years. So the fact that he engaged in it at all was a bit of a surprise to the scientific community.
When NOVA described the date (2060) of Newton's calculated end of the world as "alarmingly close", they disgraced themselves by stooping to tabloid-like sensationalistic foolishness.
It may be close, but it's no more alarming than all the other predicted ends of the world.
You know, I didn't notice at all that they used that phrase. But I would have to agree with you. Of course, I've noticed that these kinds of programs tend to sensationalize things anyhow. Like with the astronomy ones -- they really play up all the things that could go wrong -- cloud cover, broken equipment, etc. -- and then they're all like, "luckily the clouds broke and gave the astronomers a perfect view of the night sky." Well, duh. You wouldn't have put it on film if they packed it in and went home.


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