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Newton saw end of world in 2060JERUSALEM (AFP) - Renowned British scientist Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics and astronomy, predicted the world would end in 2060 in a 1704 letter that went on show in Jerusalem yesterday.
A famed rationalist, who secured a royal exemption from the ordination in the Church of England that was normally expected of academics of his day so he would not have to follow its teachings, Newton nonetheless based his prediction on a Biblical text.
Working from verses in the Book of Daniel, the elaborator of the classical laws of gravity, motion and optics, argued that the world would end 1,260 years after the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire in western Europe in 800 AD.
The letter, on show at Jerusalem's Hebrew University as part of an exhibition entitled "Newton's Secrets", is part of an array of papers of the British scientist bequeathed to the institution by a wealthy collector of scientific manuscripts.
The university said it was the first time the letter had been put on public show since 1969.
Newton's late 17th century work at Cambridge University was the foundation stone of modern science until the discovery of relativity and quantum mechanics in the last century.
But it has long been known that the ground-breaking physicist from Grantham, England, also took a keen interest in superstitions of his day that have long since fallen foul of modern science.
Newton spent four years in the 1670s preparing a work on alchemy, the notion that base metals can be turned into gold.
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