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Lot #4008
Isaac Newton Handwritten Scientific Notes on Alchemy

Significant alchemical notes by Isaac Newton, containing references for his work in 'chymistry'

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Estimate: $20000+
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Description

Significant alchemical notes by Isaac Newton, containing references for his work in 'chymistry'

English physicist, mathematician, and astronomer (1643–1727), widely regarded as the most influential figure in the history of science, whose ideas and discoveries, including calculus, the laws of gravitation and motion, and observations on the nature of light and optics, earned him a place among the most profound geniuses in the history of mankind. Untranslated handwritten notes in Latin by Isaac Newton, unsigned, one page, 7.25 x 3.75, no date. Handwritten scientific notes by Newton, recording references needed in his work on chemical reactions. In very good to fine condition, with edge toning, and a tiny area of ink erosion affecting one word of text.

Newton's interest in alchemy—or 'chymistry,' as it was called in 17th-century England—is well-documented. Roughly ten percent of his known writings deal with alchemy, and include laboratory notebooks, indices of alchemical substances, and Newton's transcriptions from other sources supplemented by his own annotations. Indiana University professor William R. Newman, editor of the 'Chymistry of Isaac Newton,' asserts that Newton's radical discoveries in the realm of light and color owed a significant debt to his alchemical research. Isaac Newton kept much of this research hidden from his contemporaries and colleagues, and some of its content could have been considered heretical by the church.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities
  • Dates: #707 - Ended February 22, 2024





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