We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about Isaac Newton, and now we’re back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating factoids about this iconic physicist’s life below. You might be surprised by what you learn!
Number Eight: He Believed in the Idea of the Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s Stone is a conceptual stone that supposedly turns lead into gold and could be the elixir of life, and Newton actually believed it existed. Many of his papers were deemed “unfit to publish” after his death, and these papers were included.
Number Seven: His Dog Ruined His Research. Though some experts hypothesize that Newton never even owned a dog, Newton said that his dog set his laboratory on fire, effectively ruining 20 years of research. Some historians believe it was just a gust of wind that knocked a lit candle over and began the fire.
Number Six: He Became an Eccentric Person Close to His Death. It is quite likely that Newton suffered from mercury poisoning close to his death. He apparently suffered a nervous breakdown and became quite well-known for his strange behavior, most likely attributable to all of the time he spent around mercury. However, some theories state that this is not possible since he never had bleeding gums (one of that main symptoms of mercury poisoning).
Number Five: He Put a Needle in His Eye on Purpose. There was very little data about how the human eye operated during Newton’s time, so he decided to perform some experiments. To accomplish one of these experiments, he probed his own eye with a blunt needle.
Number Four: He Was a Waiter. When Newton was studying at the University of Cambridge, he had to wait tables to get by. He also helped take care of other students’ rooms.
Number Three: He Practiced Alchemy. Newton may have been brilliant, but he wasn’t immune to all gimmicks. He was a big fan of alchemy – the pseudoscience that purportedly allows its users to turn things like lead into gold.
Number Two: He Escaped the Plague. In 1665, Newton was sent home from school to avoid any further spread of the devastating bubonic plague. It was during this time that he survived and actually invented calculus.
Number One: He Died a Virgin. Newton was a notoriously lonely dude, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. He never got married, and while it is impossible to verify, most experts believe he never had sex.