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The history of Newton's apple tree
This article contains a brief introduction to Newton's early life to put into context the subsequent events in this narrative. It is followed by a summary of accounts of Newton's famous story of his discovery of universal gravitation which was occasioned by the fall of an apple in the year 1665/6. Evidence of Newton's friendship with a prosperous Yorkshire family who planted an apple tree arbour in the early years of the eighteenth century to celebrate his discovery is presented. A considerable amount of new and unpublished pictorial and documentary material is included relating to a particular apple tree which grew in the garden of Woolsthorpe Manor (Newton's birthplace) and which blew down in a storm before the year 1816. Evidence is then presented which describes how this tree was chosen to be the focus of Newton's account. Details of the propagation of the apple tree growing in the garden at Woolsthorpe in the early part of the last century are then discussed, and the results of a lendrochronological. study of two of these trees is presented. It is then pointed out that there is considerable evidence to show that the apple tree presently growing at Woolsthorpe and known as 'Newton's apple tree'is in fact the same specimen which was identified in the middle of the eighteenth century and which may now be 350 years old. In conclusion early results from a radiocarbon dating study being carried out at the University of Oxford on core samples from the Woolsthorpe tree lend supp
Taylor & Francis
ISSN : 0010-7514 CODEN : CTPHAF
Contemporary physics A. 1998, vol. 39, n° 5, pp. 377-391 [bibl. : 10 ref.]
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