April 15, 1726: My Favourite Religious Person Talks about Apples

Isaac Newton
Image via Wikipedia

I love science, as many of you know. I never finished my bachelor of science degree(if I win the lottery perhaps…), but I recall much of the challenges and moments when the light bulb went off in my head. My study of evolution being one of them. Science basically changed my outlook on life and my belief system.

If there is one person that I consider the founding father of modern science, it’s Isaac Newton. So much of what we understand about the world today is thanks to him. He invented Calculus, came up with the theory of gravitation, advanced the understand of optics, the laws of motion…Pretty much every academic challenge I had in university stemmed from trying to understand Newton’s genius…Physics and Calculus, though I loved them, were freaking hard!

Little did I know that he was also religious.  I read Isaac Newton’s biography not too long ago and it was an eye opening insight into a man that studied alchemy, was devoutly religious, and by all accounts was eccentric and a recluse. I took a snapshot in Evernote of the book, in case you are looking for some new reading. It’s a good book!

The most famous story of Isaac Newton is the one about an apple falling on his head and him coming up with the theory of gravitation. This story is not quite accurate, but it did involve Isaac Newton sitting in his garden and seeing apples falling from the tree. He was quite a recluse and as such, had plenty of time to think and come up with ideas.  Here is an account of what he said about the apple falling from the tree…

when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasioned 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. Why should it not go sideways or upwards, but constantly to the Earth’s centre? Assuredly the reason is, that the Earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in matter. And the sum of the drawing power in the matter of the Earth must be in the Earth’s centre, not in any side of the Earth. Therefore does this apple fall perpendicularly or towards the centre? If matter thus draws matter; it must be proportion of its quantity. Therefore the apple draws the Earth, as well as the Earth draws the apple.”


Wired covered a story about this today. Here is the article…
April 15, 1726: Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From Physicist | This Day In Tech | Wired.com.


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