Sir Isaac Newton believed the pyramids at Giza held the key to the end of the world. Pyramidology is the broad pseudoscientific study of the “secrets” of the pyramids. Newton faced religious persecution for combining Christianity and pyramidology.
Soon, a set of obscure notes by foundational physicist Sir Isaac Newton will be auctioned at Sotheby’s. Yes, Newton “discovered gravity” in the popular imagination, but it’s his obsessive interest in pyramidology that shows in the previously undiscovered notes.
Like many people throughout history, Newton believed the pyramids in Egypt had spiritual and metaphysical significance in some way, and he studied them for years to try to reveal their “secrets.” The Guardian has more:
Newton was trying to uncover the unit of measurement used by those constructing the pyramids. He thought it was likely that the ancient Egyptians had been able to measure the Earth and that, by unlocking the cubit of the Great Pyramid, he too would be able to measure the circumference of the Earth.
He hoped that would lead him to other ancient measures, allowing him to uncover the architecture and dimensions of the Temple of Solomon—the setting of the apocalypse—and interpret the Bible’s hidden meanings.
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It’s easy to reverse engineer a history where people like Newton were so-called pure scientists—untroubled by religious politics, pseudoscience, and other areas we don’t consider part of science today. But for thousands of years, the most rational scientists were still grappling with complicated problems that made it hard to rule out these more extreme theories. Without cell or atomic theory, for example, how could they conclude that miasma theory and the classical elements
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