Sir Isaac Newton - Gold Bull

79Au19779Au197 Posts: 4,047 Gold ✭✭✭✭✭
edited January 2016 in About Gold
Many people know that Sir Isaac Newton "discovered" gravity via the myth of the apple falling out of the tree and hitting him on the head. Others may recall that he invented The Calculus in his Principia Mathematica.

But did you know that he was Master of the Mint from 1700 to 1727 and that, by successfully changing the exchange rate of gold for silver, he moved Britain from the silver standard to its first gold standard?

Quoting Newton:

"Paper currency cannot be described mathematically as money. A dollar is a certain weight of gold; that is a mathematical description, by measure (weight). Is a piece of paper of certain dimensions (length, breadth, and thickness, or else weight) a dollar? Certainly not. Is a given sized piece of paper a dollar even if numerals and words of a certain size are stamped on it with a given quantity of ink? No."

While serving as Master of the Mint, Newton personally hunted down, arrested, and prosecuted 28 coiners (gold coin counterfeiters) whose punishment for treason was to be half-hanged, drawn, and quartered. By way of disguises and actions more befitting of Sherlock Holmes, Newton frequented taverns gathering information and evidence for his prosecutions.

Newton was fascinated by gold in all of its forms, not just for its intrinsic values but for its alchemical properties as well. Newton's interest in gold and alchemy is well documented and is the basis for one of the many story lines in Neal Stephenson's fictional science opus The Baroque Cycle. Gold itself also plays a significant role throughout The Baroque Cycle and Stephenson's earlier book Cryptonomicon.


References
    Wikipedia
    The Gold Standard Now
    God of the Machine
    Mad Scientist Blog
    The Baroque Cycle
    Cryptonomicon

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