I would like to ask how Isaac Newton specifically applied mathematics to reducing forgeries and improving coinage while he was Master of the Royal Mint.

Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ He didn't apply it. He pursued counterfeiters relentlessly (one was hanged), even interrogated them personally, and encouraged the minters to take outside work to hone their engraving skills. But neither involved any non-trivial physics or mathematics, see Isaac Newton and the Royal Mint. $\endgroup$ – Conifold Sep 26 '20 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ Some fact; some fiction; a nice read anyway: The Baroque Cycle, ending with "System of the World" by Stephenson $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Sep 28 '20 at 11:39

This is not mathematics, but Newton invented the ridges on coins to prevent theft. I am not sure if he invented it while he was director of the Royal Mint, but I suspect so. In good ol times, coins were made of valuable metals (in fact, they were worth their value). Thieves would scrape the coins around the edge, thus making them smaller (but hardly noticeable the difference), to obtain a bit of that valuable metal. By making ridges on the sides, it was clear if a coin had been scraped.
Always a genius.

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    $\begingroup$ Newton did not invent reeding/milling, it has ancient precedents, and the Mint was doing it since 1662, see APS. He got there in 1696 and contributed by improving the quality of reeding/milling and engraving so that clipping and shaving was easier to detect. "Good administrator as he may have been, he was not an innovator and in his own words was far more comfortable in the search for precedent than in ‘embarrassing initiative’", Royal Mint Museum Journal. $\endgroup$ – Conifold Sep 26 '20 at 21:44

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