Was Isaac Newton the Chuck Norris of science?

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Sure, you may know him best as "the apples-and-gravity guy," but Sir Isaac Newton was arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived. His accomplishments and accolades read like a modern list of fake Chuck Norris trivia facts. Let's see if you can separate outlandish Newton lies from the equally amazing truths.

The text on Isaac Newton's Westminster Abbey tomb states, "Mortals rejoice that there has existed such and so great an ornament of the human race!"

Yep, that's really what it says -- only in Latin. Top that, Norris.

In his spare time, Newton devised a giant cannon to launch objects into orbit.

While not a serious plan to blast stuff into space, Newton did devise a powerful orbital cannon (atop an enormous mountain) as a thought experiment on the physics of gravity.

Newton taught his dog Diamond to speak 10 words of English.

While various tales of Newton's dog Diamond emerged in the years following the inventor's death, the stories were themselves inventions.

Newton may have invented the cat door, forever bridging the worlds of indoor and outdoor cats.

While it's certainly a contested detail in Newton's life, some accounts claim that he cut holes for both cat and kitten in his office door at Cambridge.

Newton boiled all the motion in the universe down to three concise laws.

He sure did. The greatest minds in history had struggled over the physics of motion, but Newton cleared it all up with the likes of "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Newton built a mechanical version of himself, which he sometimes sent in his place to attend boring faculty meetings.

While many of the great inventors dabbled in mechanical automatons, Newton was too busy laying the groundwork for our modern understanding of physics to build fake Newtons.

Newton dabbled in alchemy.

Like many great minds of the 17th century, Newton explored the cryptic chemistry and occultism found in alchemy.

In his alchemical studies, Newton attempted to gain supernatural power over nature via the philosopher's stone.

Yes, Newton's many lab notes indicate that his interest in alchemy went far beyond mere chemical curiosity. He actually sought inhuman power.

Newton created several homunculi through alchemy, and it's these lab-grown creatures that guard his tomb to this day.

As far as we know, Newton never used alchemy to create squat, little artificial humanoids to do his bidding.

Newton found 17th-century mathematics insufficient for his scientific needs, so he invented calculus.

True! While studying independently during an outbreak of plague, Newton needed a mathematical means to calculate problems that involved changing variables. There wasn't one, so he invented it. Really.

When Newton grew tired of clogged sinks, he invented the garbage disposal.

Newton didn't spend much time in the kitchen, otherwise he just might have devised this 20th-century invention himself.

Newton studied rainbows in an attempt to capture a leprechaun.

Don't be silly! Newton was too busy studying alchemy and theology for such nonsense, but he did determine that rainbows were refracted and reflected light.

Newton invented the refracting telescope.

Newton actually invented the reflecting telescope, which improved upon the old refracting design through the use of mirrors.

Newton frequently dressed in disguises so he could fight crime on the streets of London.

As Warden at the Royal Mint, Newton made it his business to root out counterfeiters in person. He wore disguises. He brought criminals to justice. He was essentially Batman.

In order to deter counterfeiters, Newton put his own scowling face on all British coins.

While this may have worked, Newton instead created milled edges on the edge of coins to prevent criminals from clipping the silver.

Newton kept two giants chained on his property and would frequently stand on their backs to view the surrounding countryside.

Giants do not exist, so Newton didn't have to subdue them. However, he did modestly state, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

When Newton grew sick of phony end-of-the-world predictions, he shut up the fearmongers by pinpointing exactly when the apocalypse would occur.

That's how it happened. Newton believed the Bible contained coded secrets about the universe -- and that he was more than up to the task of decoding them.

Newton declared that the world would end in 2012.

Don't be silly. The world won't end until at least 2060, according to Newton's calculations.

Newton's scientific discoveries allowed humans to land on the moon.

That's right. Not only did NASA require a Newtonian understanding of gravity, the agency also needed calculus to plot the course.

Isaac Newton and Chuck Norris met briefly on one occasion and shook hands.

Newton and Norris never met, since their lives were separated by centuries and their mighty handshake would have caused the universe to collapse on itself with awesomeness.

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