He was one of the most influential scientists of all time and lived in a world where science mixed with superstition and pseudoscience. Before chemistry really existed as a discipline, Newton took part in alchemy and occult studies. He even tried to find science within the Bible, predicting that the world would end around 2060. Over a decade of Newton's writing was lost in a lab fire, but surviving texts suggest that he too tried to find the Philosopher's Stone. He collected numerous books on the Stone, which included studies of Flamel.
Newton may have had to work on this project in secret since the British Crown sometimes persecuted alchemists. While working on alchemy in the second half of his life, Newton suffered a nervous breakdown, experiencing insomnia, apathy, loss of appetite, and paranoia—probably due to mercury, arsenic, or lead poisoning. Many believe that Newton did indeed succeed in important alchemic discoveries, but he destroyed all the evidence before his death.