Monday, 18 January 2010

Newton, Stukeley and the apple

The New Scientist reports that the real story of Newton and the apple has been discovered, and was recorded by none other than William Stukeley, archaeologist, vicar, Freemason, and Druid enthusiast.
Squirreled away in the archives of London's Royal Society was a manuscript containing the truth about the apple.The manuscript, from 1752, is a biography of Newton entitled Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's Life written by William Stukeley, an archaeologist and one of Newton's first biographers. Newton told the apple story to Stukeley, who relayed it as such:

"After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank thea, under the shade of some apple trees...he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself..."

The Royal Society has made the manuscript available today for the first time in a fully interactive digital form on their website.

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