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University of Lincoln to grow descendant of Sir Isaac Newton’s historic tree
Published: 2nd March 2016, 10:11am

The legacy of the apple tree which inspired Sir Isaac Newton is to live on surrounded by the next generation of great minds, as the University of Lincoln was gifted a rare cutting from the tree in a special ceremony.

In a commemorative event on Tuesday 1st March 2016, a graft was taken from the ancient apple tree which still survives in Newton's birthplace at Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham. This is the tree from which it is reputed Newton saw an apple fall causing him to speculate upon the nature of gravitation during the ‘Year of Wonders’ (1665-66), when he achieved his most notable works.

The graft was kindly donated to the University of Lincoln by Woolsthorpe Manor, and it will now be nurtured for up to two years before being planted next to the institution’s new Sir Isaac Newton Building.

Named after one of Lincolnshire’s most famous sons, the Sir Isaac Newton Building will be home to the University’s new School of Mathematics and Physics, as well as the Schools of Engineering and Computer Science. The building is an extension of the current Engineering Hub and when complete it will include new teaching spaces, specialist workshops and laboratories, offices and advanced research equipment.

As a mathematician and physicist, Sir Isaac Newton is one of the foremost and most influential scientific intellects of all time. He was a key figure in the scientific revolution and his most famous work - Philosophić Naturalis Principia Mathematica - laid the foundations for classical mechanics.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “It is a real honour to accept this graft from the tree at Sir Isaac Newton’s Lincolnshire home, which we know has had such a profound impact on the history of science. Newton’s discoveries paved the way for the scientific advancements which have brought us to where we are today. We now look forward to growing the descendant of his tree on our Brayford Pool Campus, and continuing our work to nurture the scientific minds of the future.”

As the University of Lincoln cultivates the tree’s legacy, it is in prestigious company thanks to a pioneering project which is currently taking place on-board the International Space Station. Throughout his time orbiting the planet, British astronaut Tim Peake is using apple seeds taken from the fruit of the Woolsthorpe Manor tree in a number of experiments to see what impact space travel has on their growth.

Jannette Warrener, Custodian of Woolsthorpe Manor, said: “I’m delighted to be able to share some our special history with the University of Lincoln by supplying grafts from the famous Flower of Kent tree said to have inspired Newton’s theory of gravity.  Visitors come from all over the world come to Woolsthorpe Manor to walk in Newton’s footsteps, after all, this scientific genius changed how we see the world. I hope that the cuttings we have provided, when planted and grown, will flourish and inspire students for generations to come.”

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