Boston Globe on Levenson's new book

Newton and the Counterfeiter: 
The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist

"MIT professor Thomas Levenson has written a page-turner about Isaac Newton's mind at work, Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). In a little known episode, Newton was tapped to manage England's Royal Mint at a time when the preponderance of fake money in circulation caused a financial crisis. Newton prevailed against master counterfeiter William Chaloner, who was hanged in 1699. 

In an epilogue, Levenson notes that years later Newton had a financial crisis of his own when a major personal investment soured. Newton reportedly lost the equivalent of 40 years of his base salary as master of the mint. Levenson writes, "Newton, of all people, should have been able to penetrate the flaw in the math behind the South Sea [Co.] fraud, the same that lies at the heart of every pyramid scheme."  — Jan Gardner, June 14, 2009, The Boston Globe

More Reviews

Financial Times 

The Sunday Times (UK)

Numismatic Bibliomania Society


About Thomas Levenson 
Director of the School's Graduate Program in Science Writing, Tom Levenson is author of numerous books, and recipient of the Peabody Award (shared), a New York Chapter Emmy, the AAAS/Westinghouse award, and the 2005 National Academies Communications Award for "Origins." His articles and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic MonthlyThe Boston GlobeDiscover, and The Sciences, among other publications.  


Sir Isaac Newton