Culture, Corporate and Business (CCB) Seminar Series
at the UK Campus of PHBS
Professor Newton and the Financial Revolution
Dr Cornelis Schilt
8 April 2019
In the lastest of our Culture, Corporate and Business (CCB) Seminar Series, our China Construction Bank students welcomed Dr Cornelius J Schilt, a historian, who shed a different light on Professor Newton’s life. Dr Schilt spoke to the students about his research on the life of Sir Isaac Newton and the role he played in the British Financial Revolution. Contrary to popular belief, as explained by Dr Schilt, Sir Newton was not just the math professor who had an apple fall upon his head and discovered gravity!
The life of Sir Isaac Newton was a very interesting one. Newton was well known for his work in Science and Mathematics, particularly for his role in the development of the equations governing the laws of motion, as well as the theory of light and colours. That aspect of his life is common knowledge. However, what intrigued the executives about Dr Schilt’s talk were the little-known facts about Newton, particularly in theology, ancient history, alchemy, and metallurgy. The students were fascinated to be told of his role in the development of religion from his thoughts and writings on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John. Dr Schilt also explained to the executives how Newton also played a significant role in chronicling ancient history by writing extensively about ancient kingdoms. The part that particularly piqued the interest of the executives was Dr Schilt’s revelation that Newton’s search for the cause of gravity was the result of his early experimentation in alchemy and metallurgy!
In the second half of the seminar, Dr Schilt took the students through the history of the British Financial Revolution and the part that Sir Newton played in it. First, Dr Schilt talked about the British economy in 17th century Britain. The students were fascinated to know that at that time, Britain was not faring well financially speaking, particularly in terms of their coinage, local credit systems, and taxation. Dr Schilt also talked about the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694 and the role it played in the British economic history. In particular, he talked about the loans that it provided as well as tried to provide, for example war loans. Finally, the talk ended with a history of the English coinage and the establishment of the Royal Mint. The students were intrigued by the various denominations like Shillings, Sovereigns, Crowns, Florins, Farthings, and the like, terms that are no longer in existence today. Even more so, the students were stunned to realise the role that Sir Isaac Newton played in the Great Recoinage in 1696. During that time, Sir Newton was the warden of the Royal Mint and he was responsible for increasing the production of coins. More fascinating was, Sir Newton was the lead detective behind the capture of counterfeiters!
All in all, our students learned a lot from Dr Schilt about the history of the British Economy as well as the role that Sir Isaac Newton played in the British Financial Revolution. They enjoyed the talk very much and they look forward to learning more about the history of finance from Dr Schilt.
(Report & Photo by Dr Carryn Yong. Edited by Guy Liu & Zoë Toone)
|Last modified: 2019-05-16 12:26:46 by Zoe Toone||Created at: 2019-04-29 09:22:32|