Isaac Newton's apple tree
The orchard at Woolsthorpe Manor contains an apple tree with a special place in history. Newton's tree is intertwined with his discovery of the law of gravitation – a story Newton himself told.
In the orchard at Woolsthorpe Manor there is an apple tree which first put down roots around 400 years ago. For at least 240 years it's been known as the 'gravity tree' and shown to visitors as Isaac Newton's apple tree, the tree from which an apple fell and caused him to ask the question: 'Why do apples always fall straight down to the ground?'
He began to think about why everything always fell down - not sideways, or upwards - and came to the conclusion that there must be a power (now we call it a force) that draws them. 'How far would that power extend?', he thought. 'Why not as far as the moon?'.
It’s a bit of a scientific legend but there are many truths in it. Much later in his life, Newton told the story to both William Stukeley and John Conduitt, his biographers, and they recorded it in their writings.
The real thing?
" the notion of gravitation... was occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood."