The physicist and mathematician, widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, was famously sitting under an apple tree in the gardens at Woolsthorpe Manor, when a falling apple inspired his revolutionary theories about gravity.
Today, seeds from that very same apple tree have been collected and sent to specially selected Science Centres and Science Museums across the UK, including here at Jodrell Bank, where they will be planted in celebration of the World’s first UNESCO-backed International Science Centre and Science Museum Day.
Head of Education Julia Riley said “This is a simply wonderful project and we’re delighted to be part of it. It connects perfectly with our mission to inspire the scientists of the future and it builds on our work here in the Centre’s gardens and community orchards, as well as on our major Heritage Lottery funded project First Light at Jodrell Bank.
“Planting seeds from Newton’s apple tree is especially significant for us as apples are another thread in the unique heritage of the Jodrell Bank site, now connecting Sir Isaac Newton to Sir Bernard Lovell, the founder of Jodrell Bank Observatory who first initiated the planting of the site’s extensive arboretum.”
The initiative to share the seeds from Newton’s apple tree has been made possible through a unique partnership with The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), the national charity that brings together the UK’s major science engagement organisations. The timing of the project coincides with International Science Centres and Science Museum Day which recognises the huge contribution that science centres and museums make every day, in inspiring young people and families with science.
Dr Penny Fidler, CEO of ASDC said “We are delighted to be able to celebrate the day by sharing Newton’s apple seeds with families and the public through the impressive network of UK science centres. Science Centres and Museums are at the heart of bringing the latest science to the public and helping children and adults to get involved with science in a hands-on and inspirational way.”
Julia, who is leading the activity plan for the First Light at Jodrell Bank project, added “Being a part of this initiative is also a great way for us to build on our links with the National Trust and our unique partnerships with ASDC and other Science Centres and Museums. We are taking great care of the seeds and are looking forward to planting them out in our arboretum where they will engage even more young people with our fascinating story.”
Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton, by Godfrey Kneller
Jodrell Bank Arboretum, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
JBDC’s Gardens Engagement Officer and Senior Gardener receiving package of Newton’s apple seeds, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre