Newton's Space Wood

The first video in our new "Objectivity" series has been uploaded.

It focuses on Sir Isaac Newton, famous for many things including his work on gravity.

The famous story - which I always thought was apocryphal - is that the idea popped into Newton's head when when saw an apple fall from a tree.

But Keith Moore, head librarian at the Royal Society, now has me believing the story is true.

Keith showed me writings by William Stukely, a contemporary of Newton and a guy who seemed bit of a "Newton fanboy".

 Newton (left) and 'fanboy' Stukely

Newton (left) and 'fanboy' Stukely

In the hand-written memoirs - which were never formally published - Stukely recalls having tea with Newton in a London "under the shade of some apple trees".

There Newton recalled how, in earlier years, it was in "the same situation" that he saw an apple "descend perpendicularly", etc, etc

 The smoking gun?

The smoking gun?

Newton does not say where the famous fall happened.

But many have assumed it was from an apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, in Lincolnshire, where Newton was from.

Certainly the apple tree - still at Woolsthorpe - has taken on legendary status.

 The tree at Woolsthorpe Manor is at the far right of this old picture

The tree at Woolsthorpe Manor is at the far right of this old picture

Wood from the tree has been fashioned into various items.

And, as our video explains, a piece from the tree was taken aboard the space shuttle Atlantis for mission STS-132. I guess it was considered a chance to link Newton with space exploration and his role in understanding gravitation.

See more in the video.

And stay tuned for more videos on Objectivity. It's a new project and your support is appreciated.

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