Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ridges on the edges

Take a coin and look at the edge; can you see the ridges. Those ridges are the invention or innovation of Sir Isaac Newton. After all the laws and discoveries had made Newton famous, he was appointed as Warden of the Royal Mint in 1696. Counterfeiting of currency was rampant during those days. Newton implemented a harsh regime to deter counterfeiting, which included hanging and quartering of convicts.

Many coins were made of precious metal, and people used to shave the edge of coins to collect the metal. To prevent this Newton introduced the milled edges on coins and is still followed today. In recognition of Newton’s contribution, the British £ 2 coin issued in 1997 had the phrase “Standing on the shoulders of giants” around its milled edge. These words are taken from a letter that Newton sent to fellow scientist Robert Hooke, in which he said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” 

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