The manuscripts in which Isaac Newton tried to determine the date of the Apocalypse will be sold at auction

Sir Isaac Newton, who laid the foundations of classical physics, formulated the laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation, is one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Newton’s secret obsession with alchemy and little-known branches of theology, which appeared to the world only 200 years after his death, opened up another side of this outstanding researcher.

These mystical tendencies, many of which were considered heretical in Newton’s time, are reflected in some fragmentary handwritten notes of the scientist, which are now exhibited at Sotheby’s.


These notes are fragmentary in the literal sense, as they are pieces of paper burnt after a fire. It is believed that they were damaged after Diamond – the scientist’s pet dog – knocked over a burning candle.

“These notes are part of Newton’s surprisingly complex web of interconnected research — natural philosophy, alchemy, theology — only a few of which he thought would be suitable for publication.” Sotheby’s

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In the pages of these notes, Newton reflects on the Great Pyramid of Giza, which Newton believed was built on the basis of the Egyptian unit of measurement called the royal cubit. 

Newton believed that by identifying the royal cubit, he would be able to refine his own theories of gravity and thereby provide an unprecedentedly accurate measurement of the circumference of the Earth, as well as discover other obscure and “sacred” geometric ideas that would help him determine when the Bible’s predicted end of the world would come. … 

“These works were never published because secrecy was a widespread principle of alchemical research, and Newton’s theological beliefs, if they were made public, would cost him his career,” – says the annotation of the auction to the lot. 

The auction will take place on December 8 in an online format. The starting price of the lot will be $ 375,000. 


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