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Interpreting Newton: brilliant ideas wanted

newton.jpg
Home to a famous apple tree

By Hamish Johnston

I was just speaking to Susan Haimes, who is property manager of Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire — the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton. The Manor, which is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public, is also the place where that legendary apple fell and inspired Newton to think hard about the nature of gravity.

Susan has issued a call to physicists for help in revamping the Manor’s interactive science discovery centre, which opened in 2000 and “is in need of updating”. Work is underway to redesign it and the new centre will be opened in March 2010.

New exhibits will include interactive models that demonstrate planetary orbits, the movement of points, calculus, gravity, prisms (including lenses, refraction and the problem of chromatic aberration), forces and telescopes.

However, Haimes is also keen to hear from any physicists who may have “a brilliant idea for interpreting an aspect of Newton’s work in a way that just hadn’t occurred to us”.

Time is short, though, so if you’ve got a brilliant idea for demonstrating an aspect of Newton’s work to families, send your sketch or idea off to susan.haimes@nationaltrust.org.uk by Friday 16 January, with your contact details.

If your idea is chosen and used in the centre, you will be given a one-year visiting pass entitling you and your family to visit National Trust properties around the country.

Please contact Susan for more information.

And in case your wondering, the apple in question was of the variety “Flower of Kent” and according to Susan is a rather large fruit. Legend has it that the original tree died in 1820, but its roots produced a second tree that is still there today.

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2 comments

  1. Full nexus between Newtonian and relativistic mechanics: contrarily to what is commonly thought, Newtonian mechanics can be amended to suit all speeds up to c. When introducing the fact that the pulse of oscillators, i.e. emitters and clocks, is sensitive to speed, the Newtonian framework can be extended to all speeds.

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