Tuesday June 25th, 2024
Download SceneNow app
Jun 25, 2024

Why Isaac Newton Thought Egypt Held the Secrets of the Apocalypse

Soethby's recently auctioned off three notes written by Isaac Newton that revealed his ruminations on the end of the world - and what the Pyramids of Giza had to do with it.

Staff Writer

Why Isaac Newton Thought Egypt Held the Secrets of the Apocalypse

It's hard to penetrate the mind of a genius. We never had the theory of universal gravity pop into our brains after getting hit in the head by an apple. All we ever got was a concussion. Still, we can't help but wonder just what's going on in Isaac Newton's head when we found out that he tried to suss out the end of the world - and came to the conclusion that the secrets of the apocalypse were to be found in the Great Pyramids of Giza. Either he's crazy, or he's right. And we're not sure which one's more likely.

Three pages of Isaac Newton's notes were recently sold off in an auction by Soethby's for around USD 504, 700, and they're as insightful as they are obtuse. They were written while he was on a retreat after a fellow scientists criticized his work. The edges are burned, which was said to have happened when his dog, Diamond, knocked over a candle. For a 17 century genius like Newton, Egypt held the key to understanding not just the Biblical apocalypse, but gravity as well. But he lived in 17th century England, with 17th century religious sensibilities.

“His descendants made sure very few saw the papers because they were a treasure trove of dirt on the man,” Sarah Dry, author of The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts, said. "His papers were bursting with evidence for just how heretical his views were.”

It doesn't sound so out-there when you look at his process. Newton was interested in the cubit, a unit of measurement that the Ancient Egyptians used with the Pyramids. By understanding the cubit, Newton thought he would understand how other ancient buildings were constructed, like the Temple of Solomon - a key structure in prophecies about the end of the world. He also believed the Pyramids would help him understand gravity - he thought the Ancient Greeks borrowed their measurement for the Earth's circumference, the stade, from the Egyptians, which Newton hoped would help prove his theory of gravity. So basically, ancient Egyptian maths might have given Newton a heads up on the secrets of the universe.