Newton as master detective

I am currently working from home, laid somewhat lower than usual by a persistent cold. One way to pass the time in between attempting to do actual work is padding through some of the bookmarks of "things I will read when I have time." Here is one gem I marked four months back – Thomas Levenson‘s brilliant talk on his book about Isaac Newton‘s tenure as Master of the Royal Mint, where he had to deal with counterfeiters (particularly William Chaloner) by setting up his own detective force:

http://mitworld.mit.edu/flash/player/Main.swf?host=cp58255.edgefcs.net&flv=mitw-01207-writing-newton-levenson-06oct2009&preview=http://mitworld.mit.edu//uploads/mitwstill01207writingnewtonlevenson06oct2009.jpg

Levenson draws lines to modern economy and shows how Newton had a quite sophisticated understanding of modern economy, was a smart investor, particularly in the South Sea bubble in 1720, and then fell victim to his own greed. Highly recommended!

Advertisements