Besides defining the laws that govern the universe , the celebrated English physicist set a date to Revelation. What sources and observations relied to reach this conclusion?
In the year in which many believe - wrongly, according to experts - to be met the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world , worth remembering other calculations around a theme has always been present in the human imagination.
In this case, the prediction is doubly interesting because it comes from Isaac Newton (1642-1727), one of the greatest scientists in history, a man who in his time transformed physics, mathematics and astronomy, formulating the law of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion (inertia, interaction and action-reaction) that bear his name.
However, this background can generate excessive expectations, since the calculation of Newton in this case is far from scientific rigor with which he played the fall of an apple. It happens that in addition physicist, mathematician and astrologer, the man was also a theologian, not unusual at the time.
"Contrary to his public image, most of the work of Newton were not devoted to science, but. More than anything. To theology, mysticism and alchemy , "the Israeli daily Haaretz, to announce that the files scientist have just been open to the public by the National Library of Israel . This is the result of work begun in 1983 when, under the Newton Project , the University of Cambridge , began to be analyzed and deciphered his writing by a committee of experts. A total of 7,500 manuscript pages of digitized files can now be accessed freely online. It was in those papers that appeared unusual doomsday prediction.
In 1704, physicist calculated, based on reading the Bible , that the end of the world take place in 2060. It was in the book of Daniel (Old Testament ) where Newton thought he had found the keys to his theory, which should happen as 1,260 years between the refounding of the Holy Roman Empire by Charlemagne in 800, and the Revelation , therefore should occur in 2060.
"From our point of view, there is a contradiction between science and rationalism on the one hand, and theology, mysticism and faith of the other. But in the spirit of Newton, as a product of his time, understand the laws nature meant understanding how the world worked, "said the newspaper Le Monde Milka Levy-Rubin, curator of the collection of human sciences at the National Library of Israel.
Indeed, the manuscripts of Newton shows a less known facet of science: reading the Bible was one of his passions , believing that it was written the divine laws of the universe, and spent many hours studying the texts sacred.
These files came to Cambridge as decided by the descendants of Newton, 150 years after his death. The famous physicist had attended this university. The University retained only scientific texts and others returned to the family. In 1936, were auctioned by Sotheby's in London and purchased by two collectors, one of them another British celebrity: the economist, who held the texts referring to alchemy. The theological were purchased by Abraham Shalom Yehuda and his death, donated to the University of Jerusalem.
Still, Newton remains best remembered for his discoveries about gravity rational land and the dynamics of apocalyptic speculations.