3.19.2020


I was reading the Washington Post and saw an interesting 'work from home' story regarding Isaac Newton.  Thought I'd share to give you something to read while you sip your morning coffee... from home, hopefully!

In London, a quarter of the population would die of plague from 1665 to 1666. It was one of the last major outbreaks in the 400 years that the Black Death ravaged Europe.


Isaac Newton was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1665 when they sent students home to continue their studies there during the plague.



"Without his professors to guide him, Newton apparently thrived. The year-plus he spent away was later referred to as his annus mirabilis, the “year of wonders.”

First, he continued to work on mathematical problems he had begun at Cambridge; the papers he wrote on this became early calculus.

Next, he acquired a few prisms and experimented with them in his bedroom, even going so far as to bore a hole in his shutters so only a small beam could come through. From this sprung his theories on optics.

And right outside his window at Woolsthorpe, there was an apple tree. That apple tree.

The story of how Newton sat under the tree, was bonked on the head by an apple and suddenly understood theories of gravity and motion, is largely apocryphal. But according to his assistant, John Conduitt, there’s an element of truth. Here’s how Conduitt later explained it:

“ … Whilst he was musing in a garden it came into his thought that the same power of gravity (which made an apple fall from the tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from the earth but must extend much farther than was usually thought. ‘Why not as high as the Moon?’ said he to himself..”



Newton returned to Cambridge in 1667, theories in hand. Within six months, he was made a fellow; two years later, a professor."