Isaac Newton: Vegetarianism against vanity

Isaac Newton is a world-renowned scientist with an established reputation as a physicist, astronomer, mathematician and eccentric man of science. Many vegetarian editions attribute to him also vegetarianism. But was it really so? Having read the books of his biographers Peter Akroyd and Vladimir Kartsev, we have found out the true state of affairs.

Not a tenant, a silly and worthless rhymingbolt

Isaac Newton was born on the good omen of Christmas in 1642. Another good sign was the death of his father. Strange as it may seem, the child born after his father’s death was considered a lucky man. Nobody believed that the baby would survive, but he grew up, became famous all over the world and glorified his parents.

At the age of two, his mother left him and married the Reverend Smith for the second time. According to the marriage contract, the boy could not live with his mother in the house of Barnabas Smith’s stepfather. In return, he was left with his father’s inheritance and a piece of land of the Monk.

Thus, at the age of two the boy remained an orphan in the care of his grandmother, for whom he had no warm feelings. The future scientist did not play in children’s games, did not play with the boys, was withdrawn and taciturn. He was sent to a nearby school to learn how to write, count and read, just like all the children, but he hardly made any friends there.

His mother, Anna, widowed again seven years later. Isaac Newton, 10, moved in with her, but for her he was already a stranger with a difficult character. Isaac did not live with his mother for long, two years. This time was remembered by the child as a huge priest’s library and an empty notebook, which became his first scientific notebook. He called it “Notebook for all nonsense”. “Everything Nonsense” was sun observation, which helped to build a sundial, and a scheme of a water mill, which was in the city. The boy climbed it up and down. As a result, he built his own model, in which the wheel was spinning a mouse.

When the boy turned 12 years old, he was sent to Grantham to study at school. The town was nearby, but the pharmacist had to rent a room. The attic space turned into a shelter from classmates who were mocking him, and a laboratory for chemical experiments. In the house of the pharmacist Isaac established a friendly relationship with Miss Storem – the only woman with whom he had any relationship. She described him as a thoughtful, reserved and silent boy, and Newton invented everything for her to play with: prams, small furniture, a swing. It was then that a passion for mechanics woke up in him. He not only bought his own tools, he made them himself and constantly used them.

It did not affect his studies well. The future scientist was 78th in the rating of 80 people. However, he graduated from this school is already the best student. And all because of the fight. His classmate Arthur Storrer beat him up. Isaac Newton avenged him by taking him with his nose through the wall of the church. In his anger, Isaac promised Arthur that he would overtake him in the ranking (he was 77th on the list). Isaac overtook him 77 times.

And the school principal had to persuade the boy’s mother with money so that she would not take him away from the school to work on the farm. The farm workers sighed quietly: “A silly, gloomy, lazy, scattered, worthless, grumpy, rhyming rhyming is not going to be their master.

Intrigant and cunning (as he was called by his classmates) were admitted to Trinity College. The principal at the last school meeting made an emotional speech and even cried, announcing to everyone that in front of them Isak Newton – a genius.

Life in Cambridge

In 1661, Isaac Newton entered the gates of Cambridge. The university will be his home for 35 years. Its character will be formed here, the greatest scientific works will be written.

It is impossible to say that Newton was a diligent student. He taught only what he was interested in, and everything else quickly read before the exam. But already at that time, his contemporaries noted the extreme concentration of attention, which allowed him, without distraction, to work on a single topic for a long time.

In the 17th century, in order to achieve scientific success at the university, it was necessary not to listen to teachers, but to deal with himself. Only with the help of Newton’s 23-year-old autodictation became the youngest teacher in Cambridge, a member of the Royal Scientific Society and formulated the theory of light.

1664-1666 years for Newton were the most wonderful and fruitful. In the country raged plague, so Isaac left Cambridge in his estate in Woolstorpe. There he formulated the theory of light, at that time “the apple fell” and he began to work on the theory of gravity.

In 1667, he returned to Cambridge and became a junior teacher. In this position, he is given ¬£20 for clothes, plus he collects rent from his land and also pays for his mother’s maintenance. He was not poor. While he ate only bread and drank water and could forget about them, he bought clothes for himself, sewed them from tailors and ordered his portraits during his work, which speaks of his vanity. Here’s what Kartsev writes in the biography of the scientist: “But the bill, which does not testify to his vegetarian predilections, – a goose, two turkeys, two rabbits, a chicken were delivered to the house in a week. One of the surviving accounts reports that during lunch Newton and his guests were served: fish, pie, fricassee of chickens, a dish of frog legs, a quarter of lamb, game and lobsters.

This quote speaks of his vanity. He wanted everyone to see what he, the son of a farmer, had achieved. Many people remember his asceticism while working.

In 1666, after writing the theory of light, he left mathematics and returned two years later, when he learned that one of the scientists had published an easy method of calculating logarithms, although he had done so much earlier. It was out of acute vanity that conflicts with many scientists of that time occurred in his life. Because of Robert Hooke, for example, he did not appear in royal society and took his place there only after the death of his enemy. And the dispute with Leibnitz over the discovery of differential calculus spread to the whole world.

Newton was engaged in alchemy, for which he could be executed. He signed his alchemical writings in the name of Saint Jehovah and United Jehovah, which also speaks of his arrogance.

In 1669 he was awarded the title of the second Lukasovsky teacher in Cambridge. He was an eccentric teacher. It is unlikely that anyone understood his lectures, and the work of his brain was so active that if something occupied his thoughts, nothing could prevent him from thinking through to the end: neither students, nor even war. One day he went to the dining room and on the way to the dining room a brilliant thought illuminated him. He walked into the dining room, they put a tray of lunch in front of them, and an hour later he was taken untouched, and Isaac kept thinking about the task. He could work without resting for a few days. In one of his letters, he remembered that he was so carried away by his work that he felt that his mind was blurred and he had to rest.

He wasn’t a friend of anybody, even though he was in active correspondence. He did not communicate with women. Chemist Vigani remembers that he stopped talking to him when he told an obscene joke about a nun.

Newton was very suspicious. He thought that if he gave someone his notes, he would be arrested, executed, not understood, ridiculed. John Collins managed to cope with his suspiciousness. In 1671, Newton showed his reflective telescope. The show was a success. Since then, Newton’s name has been tepid in scientific circles. A year later, he became a member of the Royal Society of Science and will remain there for the rest of his life. This success inspired him. He published his theory of light and other scientific works.


In 1696, Isaac Newton left Cambridge to start working in the Mint. Under his leadership, coins were minted, which reduced the turnover of counterfeit money. He put in order the paperwork, created mint branches in other cities of England, with it reduced inflation, reduced public debt, and increased contributions to the treasury. Tsar Peter, having talked to Newton, did the same monetary reform in Russia.

In 1699, the Newton world system began to be taught in Cambridge. His main scientific work “Mathematical Begins of Natural Philosophy” is published and reprinted in other languages. He becomes a member of the French scientific society, and the Queen of England elevates him to the rank of knight.

Here is what Peter Acroyd writes about the last years of the scientist in his biographical work:

“His needs for old age were quite moderate: for breakfast – bread with butter and orange tea. He drank almost only water in principle, and he had some vegetarian habits. He refused to eat black pudding, as it is made of blood, and did not use rabbit, because before the preparation of rabbits strangled.

Many contemporaries of the scientist noted his activity in his old age. Until the last time he attended meetings of the scientific society and the Mint, corresponded with other scientists and philosophers, studied theology and cleaned up his affairs.

He died at the age of 84 in 1727. The last five years of his life were worsening, but he was under the constant control of doctors who put him on a fruit and vegetable diet.

Isaac Newton was an ascetic all his life. He refused to eat meat completely because of his illness and at an early age. To call him a vegetarian in the literal sense of the word is not possible. But the fact remains the fact. He has lived a long life. His rejection of meat was not only medical – the ethical aspect was always present. And now, thanks to this, it is not only the elderly who stop killing animals after the advice of doctors, but also teenagers.

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