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Thinkers such as Isaac Newton and John Lock realised that the laws of the universe were there to be discovered not read about in the Bible. It was the Age of Enlightenment. Democracy, freedom and science replaced religion at the heart of society. For me the person who epitomises the Enlightenment is an American: Benjamin Franklin. Professor Colin Blakemore, Christianity s1e7: A History: God and the Scientists, ABC 2010
Qui genus humanum ingenio superavit. [In Intellect he Surpassed the Human Race] Inscription on base of statue
Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind that looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10,000 years ago. John Maynard Keynes, address Royal Society Club 1942
Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night:
God said, ‘Let Newton be.’ And all was light. Alexander Pope
‘Newton spent much of his time absorbed by alchemy.’ Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World, Jim Al-Khalili, Channel 4 2012
He [Newton] wondered what light might be made of and wanted to know how vision worked. ibid.
‘Isaac Newton was becoming an increasingly eccentric figure.’ ibid.
Hooke had spurned the one man with the mathematical talents to help him understand the laws of the universe. ibid.
[Edmond] Halley flattered, cajoled and chastised Newton in turns. ibid.
The greatest book ever written in history ... Principia Mathematica. ibid.
The Principia spelled out for the first time the mathematical principles that governed the universe. And the law of gravity that holds all matter in place. ibid.
Newton realised there was a force at work deep within the fabric of the universe that makes all objects attract each other. Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design: The Key to the Cosmos, Discovery 2012
A classic example is Isaac Newton’s Theory of Gravity. Which he could never have come up with without the prior work of Royal Society founder Robert Hooke. Even geniuses can benefit from teamwork. Niall Ferguson, Civilisation: Is the West History? 2011
When he was younger he had threatened to burn the house down with his mother and his step-father in it. Described as artificial, unkind, arrogant, he was one of the most brilliant minds of his or any other generation. There are few more famous legends in the whole history of science than that of Newton in the orchard. A moment of genius when the young Isaac Newton first worked out a comprehensive theory of gravity. Michael Mosley, The Story of Science, BBC 2010
His monumental work explaining that gravity held the universe together was published in 1687: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. ibid.
He [Newton] said this: Gravity is a force of attraction between all objects. Brian Cox, Wonders of the Universe ep3: Falling, BBC 2011
Isaac Newton: To be buried in W A [Westminster Abbey] was an honour usually reserved for kings and nobles … Newton was no ordinary man. Brian Cox, Science Britannica II: Method and Madness, BBC 2013
Newton was one of the first to interrogate nature using the principles of what we now call the Scientific Method. ibid.
His [Newton’s] achievements were solitary ... Mathematics: he invented what we now call the Calculus ... Newton kept ‘fluxions’ as his secret tool. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 7/13, The Majestic Clockwork, BBC 1973
He had his own small laboratory and his own garden. ibid.
Newton had conceived the idea of a universal gravitation in the plague year of 1666. ibid.
He practised alchemy; in secret he wrote immense tomes about the Book of Revelation. ibid.
The village boy had made good. ibid.
The universe of Newton ticked on without a hitch for about two hundred years. ibid.
In the summer of 1693 Isaac Newton was having a catastrophic nervous breakdown. He had always suffered intense bouts of depression and mania. Great Britons: Isaac Newton, Tristram Hunt reporting, BBC 2002
When he was still a young boy his mother left him ... Isaac had to stay behind at Woolsthorpe. He was effectively abandoned. ibid.
His favourite book was The Mysteries of Nature & Art. ibid.
A lonely schoolboy was laying the foundations of modern science. ibid.
He then drew up a list entitled Some Problems in Philosophy. Under forty-five different headings he identified what he saw as the great unanswered questions of science. ibid.
The image of the lone scientists in his garden unlocking the mysteries of the universe resonates through history ... Rather than developing a full theory of Gravity he put it to one side and rather focused his mind on a completely different branch of science: Optics. ibid.
Knowledge to him was something sacred and solitary ... He made the world’s first reflecting telescope. ibid.
His sense of betrayal and injustice was overwhelming. ibid.
Instead became obsessed with the Bible. It seems an extraordinary change of tack. ibid.
Unknown to others he had been consumed by alchemy ... The Lucasian Professor had become the sorcerer’s apprentice ... He wrote over a million words on alchemy. ibid.
He decided to write a definite guide to the workings of the universe ... At a stroke Newton had changed everything: the cosmos had become knowable, mathematical; it was a staggering achievement. ibid.
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica ... One such first edition was recently sold at auction for £2,000,000. ibid.
He was concerned with motion ... Newton was able to devise the three laws of motion. ibid.
He left us ideas, ideas that allow us to control the forces of Nature and change our world. Ideas that will always be with us wherever we go. ibid.
In 1727, just weeks before his death, one of the most famous men of his day is busy burning boxfuls of his manuscripts. What could have been in them that he was so desperate to destroy? Mystery Files: Isaac Newton, National Geographic 2011
This man was the father of modern science. But it seems that falling apples were not at the top of his priority list. He had spent his life secretly studying the ancient art of alchemy. Why was he so secretive? ibid.
On his return to Cambridge, Newton has discovered fundamental laws of the universe. ibid.
Newton’s telescope is revolutionary because it’s over ten times smaller than the equivalent telescope of the day. These were refracting telescopes. ibid.
Isaac Newton has an even more surprising interest: he is obsessed with secret codes and prophecy in the Bible. ibid.
He writes more words on scriptures than he does on alchemy and science combined. ibid.
Newton is particularly obsessed with the Book of Revelation. ibid.
Isaac Newton is considered by many to be the greatest genius of all time. He was revered as a scientific demigod in his own lifetime. Newton revealed the nature of light, allowing us to explore the universe. He enabled us to calculate motion and predict change. He distilled the force that unites the whole universe into a precise mathematical formula. Isaac Newton: The Last Magician, BBC 2013
A cult world of heretical religion and alchemy. ibid.
He was the last of the magicians. ibid.
His father died a few months before he was born. He was then rejected by his mother. ibid.
He was also following a mystical quest ... Alchemy. ibid.
Newton’s three laws of motion: Law I: Inertia; Law II: Force = Mass x Acceleration; Law III: Action & Reaction. ibid.
His strangest transformation: the hermit and academic became a man of power. ibid.