Newton – the giant on whose shoulders Einstein and Bohr stood and changed the lens with which we look at the world – was, unsurprisingly, a terribly unpleasant man to talk to.

That’s pardonable. Great men are always a disappointment – a Feynman is always an exception, never a rule.

What history says is not pardonable is he wasted the latter half of his life on mumbo-jumbo, the science which birthed modern chemistry and medicine yet was not a science at all – alchemy. When he died and the greedy friends browsed through thousands and thousands of documents and unpublished papers, they found that all of them were utter and complete nonsense.

Newton died searching for the philosopher’s stone – the transmutation, almost the transmogrification of lead into gold.

Well, as it turned out, he wasn’t a fool at all. Modern particle accelerators can turn lead into gold by nuclear transmutation. Just tank 3 protons out of lead and voila, you have gold. Not only it can be done, it has been done, it has even happened by chance.

You can change lead into gold.

Ofcourse it happens at a very steep cost – but what steeper cost can you pay than half of Newton’s life? The amount of lead required is humongous, the gold -quite negligible, but there.

Are you willing to pay the price of exchanging all the lead you are carrying along everyday for a tiny, but valuable amount of gold?