After studying the alchemical works of Isaac Newton , the economist John Maynard Keynes stated, in 1942, that "Newton was not the first researcher of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians."
And, in addition to the first-rate scientific findings he made, Newton also winked at biblical exegesis (particularly the Apocalypse), alchemy and other pseudosciences and superstitions.
Not surprisingly, Newton believed that metals vegetate, that the entire cosmos / matter is alive and that gravity is caused by the emissions of an alchemical principle .
In a 1704 manuscript , Newton also describes his attempts to extract scientific information from the Bible and estimates that the world would end no earlier than 2060. After making the prediction, he noted: "I mention it not to say when the time of the end will come, but to put an end to the hasty conjectures of fanciful men who often predict the time of the end, and in doing so discredit holy prophecies as often as their predictions fail. "
In fact, Newton considered himself one of a select group of people who were specially chosen by God for the task of understanding biblical scriptures .
Alchemy is closely linked to natural philosophy. It was part of the old proto-scientific tradition. Some of the basic principles of alchemy are found within the concept of immortality and transmutation. So the alchemists eagerly researched to develop a recipe that might adhere to these concepts. Because transmutation would help turn a base metal into a noble metal. Apart from this, there were studies on an elixir of immortality.
Among the total of 10 million of his words surviving on fire, more than 1 million words written by Newton focused on the subject of alchemy .
His work on alchemy came to light when his 17th century manuscripts were made public. The physicist was looking for the stone that contains the answer to many alchemical mysteries. Above all, his manuscript details the procedure to make one of the critical elements of this stone.
For Newton, the Philosopher’s Stone also embodied the perfect morganatic marriage between theological and philosophical truths. As a man of science and religion, that is not surprising .
According to Newton, it was the philosopher’s stone that kept the universe together and running. He believed it was omnipresent and without it the universe would never have supported life. In addition, it was his obsession with this stone that helped him formulate one of the most popular theories in science: that of gravity. Newton related the matter that causes gravity to the philosopher’s stone .
On the other hand, he was not the only fanatic pursuing this coveted stone. Many eminent scientists of Newton’s time worked to promote alchemy and find ways to solve this mystery.