The Apple Tree That Inspired Isaac Newton to Discover Gravity Is Still Alive and Well

By | July 29, 2017

Isaac Newton, born in 1664 according to the old calendar, was an English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. He is considered to be the father of gravity.

Newton discovered gravity with a little help from an apple tree outside his childhood home, Woolsthorpe Manor, in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England.

Pictured below was the birthplace and the family home of Sir Isaac Newton.

The apple tree has been known for at least 240 years as the ‘gravity tree’ from which an apple fell, making the ever curious Newton wonder why apples always fall straight down to the ground.

Newton began to ask questions why everything always fell down to the ground. Why not sideways ? Or upwards? He concluded that there must be a power (we call it force), that draws them to the ground.

The next questions: “How far would that power extend? Why not as far as the moon?”

This is one of the famous classical legendary stories of science. But it's not all legend, there is truth in it. Later in life, Sir Isaac Newton told the story to his two biographers who recorded the story in their writings and published the writings in 1752.

“After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank tea under the shade of some apple trees… he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notation of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasioned by the fall of an apple as he sat in a contemplative mood. “Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground”, thought he to himself…’

This is the famous tree from which the apple is said to have fallen.

Today, a caretaker keeps the tree healthy so that it continues to grow and bear blossom and fruit. A low barrier has been installed around it to protect the root run.