From Woolsthorpe into space and back
Apple seeds from Isaac Newton's tree at Woolsthorpe are now on the International Space Station as part of the programme of experiments for the latest mission which includes British astronaut Tim Peake.
The pips were collected from the tree in the orchard at Woolsthorpe by Jeremy Curtis of the UK Space Agency during 2014 and passed to the European Space Agency for their mission Principia which took off in December 2015.
The mission is named after Newton's great work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica* published in 1687, which changed the face of science in his time. In space the pips will be subject to zero gravity and increased radiation and although we're not sure what sort of experiments they will be part of, we do know that in six months they'll come back to Earth and be distributed to various places, including Woolsthorpe, where we'll aim to nurture these 'space pips' into new apple trees.
Jannette Warrener, Woolsthorpe's Custodian, says: 'Tim's space travels are inspiring a new generation of scientists, something we are passionate about at Woolsthorpe Manor. We've developed a brilliant project with young scientists from schools in the region which involved them launching a weather balloon into space to map out electromagnetic radiation - the data will be shared with visitors and younger scientists. The group devised their own name - PrISM, or PRactical Investigations into Scientific Method. We've loved the project and really want to continue it into the future.'
Come and visit the tree, still thriving today in the orchard at Woolsthorpe Manor, and be inspired by Isaac Newton - the man who saw an apple fall and asked: Why?
*Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
" Be inspired at Woolsthorpe - where an apple fell and the way we see the world changed."