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First time in ebook format, this biography of Isaac Newton reveals the extraordinary influence that the study of alchemy had on the greatest Early Modern scientific discoveries. In this ‘ground breaking biography’ Michael White destroys the myths of the life of Isaac Newton and reveals a portrait of the scientist as the last sorcerer.
According to traditional accounts, Newton was the first modern scientist . As creator of the theory of gravity, calculus, modern theories of light and devisor of the three laws of mechanics, his methods are perceived as the genesis of modern science. Yet the traditional version of his life fails to tell, by some considerable margin, the full story. How for example could Newton’s apparent empiricism be married with his interest in alchemy and magic? What had inspired him in his discoveries? How did he reconcile his scientific discoveries with his religious faith? And, most of all, who was this man who, historians tell us, remained a virgin all his life and who seemed to be an argumentative ego maniac on the one hand and a kindly old man on the other?
In this revelatory biography, White paints an original picture of Isaac Newton completely at variance with the traditional portrait.
About the author
Michael White was a science lecturer before becoming a full-time writer and journalist. He is the author with John Gribbin of the bestselling Stephen Hawking – A Lifetime in Science. He is a regular contributor to the Sunday Times, the Observer,the Daily Telegraph, GQ, Focus and New Scientist.
The father of modern empirical science, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was also a practicing alchemist who spent more of his time involved in arcane investigations of magic, prophecy and hermetic secrets than in rationalist pursuits. Neither sensationalizing nor overplaying Newton's interest in mysticism, this superb, demythologizing biography shatters the conventional portrait of the man of pure intellect, giving us instead an obsessive mystic, a supreme egoist who saw himself as a Christ-like interpreter of divine knowledge. White (coauthor, Stephen Hawking--A Life in Science) reveals a multifaceted Newton--the fatherless recluse emotionally scarred by a mother who abandoned him to unloving grandparents at age three; the hustling money lender at Cambridge; the closeted follower of Arianism, a heretical Christian sect that led him to loathe Roman Catholicism and to see all of creation as a code to be cracked. White cogently argues that alchemy, far from being a diversion, helped inspire Newton's discovery of universal gravitation as well as his belief that microcosmic processes mirror the macrocosm. His portrait of a secretive, vain, vitriolic genius lusting for power, wealth and status is unsettling. Photos.