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Sir Isaac Newton considered curing the plague with a lozenges, a manuscript revealed



Sir Isaac Newton suspended his college studies in Cambridge as the plague ravaged England.

In a previously unpublished two-page manuscript dating from 1667, Newton wrote that in order to cure the plague, “the best is a frog suspended by feet in a chimney for three days, which eventually spewed the earth with various insects in it, upwards. A plate yellow candle, and shortly after death. ”

“Combining powdered frogs with excretion and serum is made into lozenges and is used in the affected area, expels transmission and expels toxins,” Newton noted in the document.

“I think of course that the current medical situation has an impact on people’s interest to read about its history,” Darren Sutherland, a senior specialist in books and manuscripts at Bonham, told CNN.

The writing also refers to using stones such as sapphire and amber as “zenexton,” or amulets, against disease, among more worldly observations such as “places infected with Plague must be avoided.”

Newton noted this when studying the work of Jan Baptiste Van Helmont, a famous chemist in the 17th century and a leading medical scientist who practiced at the time. Van Helmont died in 1644. Among his most important contributions was that he first identified the presence of gases such as carbon dioxide, and he coined the term “gas.”

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Although Newton was largely interested in learning about chemistry from Van Helmont, he also focused his attention on a book written by Van Helmont about the plague, “Tumulus Pestis” (“Tomb of the Plague”), based on his experience healing patients in Antwerp in 1605, according to Bonhams research.

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It is no coincidence that in 1667, Newton developed an interest in learning about the plague.

An estimated 100,000 people died from illness in London between 1665 and 1666, according to Britain National Archives. Newton himself famously spent two years in quarantine at Woolsthorpe Manor, his family’s estate in Lincolnshire, after he had to leave his studies at Cambridge. Newton’s account of the plague was probably written shortly after he was able to return to Cambridge.

“There must have been some kind of spark of interest at the time, just for his intelligence. While medicine was never the focus, I think there was a personal interest in this particular subject at the time,” Sutherland said.

One page of Newton's manuscripts detailed his rumors about the possible treatment of the plague.

Using vomit frogs or gemstones to cure plague does sound kooky today, but Newton “is not an outcast in the context of the 17th century,” Sutherland said.

The mention of frog charms and gemstones by Newton as a possible remedy for the outbreak did not surprise Elisabeth Brander, a rare book librarian at the Becker Medical Library, he told CNN.

“We usually associate it with what we consider to be very modern and forward-looking science, but when it was still alive, the lines between what we now consider science and superstition are far, far more blurrier.”

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According to Brander, Van Helmont’s frog healing came from the teachings of Paracelsus, a Swiss doctor who lived in the 16th century.

Every year, between 1,000 and 2,000 people are affected by the epidemic - including around 7 in the US

Paracelsus “believes that the outbreak was caused by celestial disorders in the body and that wearing certain amulets can help disrupt the damaging relationship between the body and the stars,” Brander told CNN.

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“We have since moved away from the idea of ​​the sympathetic forces that created certain disturbances in the physical body, but that made sense in the early modern period. Newton was in the middle of this transition period where the body of scientific knowledge was still in flux, which was very interesting, “he added.

Distinguishing between Newton’s scientific achievements and his reflections on frogs and gemstones is only possible for us as contemporary observers, with the benefit of looking back.

The 17th century was a time when many scientific discoveries that we now understand as the mainstream were first conceptualized and defined. Even ideas such as gravity, which are fully established today, take years to flow into general knowledge after Newton first formulated them, according to Sutherland.

“Important moments in our history are not important at this time,” Sutherland added.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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