Newton wrote more about alchemy than math and science combined.
Sir Isaac Newton is certainly one of the greatest scientists of all time. His most notable achievements include:
• Pointing out the force of gravity
• Designing a version of the telescope which is still in use today
• Creating equations for measuring the movement of planets in his masterwork
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (His formulas are still used today).
Newton was a mathematical and scientific genius, but he spent most of his time decoding and experimenting with alchemy. Newton believed the Greek myths were actually codes for alchemy recipes (see George Starkey). This may sound absurd, but in fact, an Indiana University professor has recreated many of Newton’s alchemical experiments with great success.
Most alchemists were on a quest for the “Philosopher’s Stone” which is said to have the ability to change other metals into gold. Some speculate that perhaps Newton did find a way to create this mysterious substance because of a sudden and unexpected career change…
Sir Newton gave up the most famous academic chair in the world, The Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (which was recently held by Stephen Hawking) to become the Appointment to the Royal Mint and eventually Master of the Mint (the guy in charge of all the money in England).
Newton even took a stab at at decoding the Bible to find the date for the end of the world. His calculations suggest the year of 2060.
• NOVA’s Newton’s Dark Secrets Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdmhPfGo3fE
• A more in-depth article: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/newton-alchemist-newman.html