Much like the college students of the year 2020, Newton too was sent home from Cambridge University during the bubonic plague epidemic of 1666, and it was while he was home sitting under the apple tree in his garden that the apple fell to the ground – and the rest as they say is history. It has been over 340 years since Newton had his epiphany, and almost 300 years since the death of Newton – and yet the tree lives on in his garden at the Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire England. It was planted at least 60 years before Newton was born – which makes it well over 400 years old.
A graft of the original tree was planted at Trinity College in Cambridge in 1954, and from this tree others have been grafted and planted at numerous universities and research institutes across the world. They can be found at found at MIT, Occidental College, Tokyo University, Clemson, University of Nebraska, and Stanford among others. Even research centers with hot and dry climate, like the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India build canopies and try to grow the tree.
The love for the tree is ironic – because Newton only went to Cambridge to study Physics because his mother thought he would not make a good farmer!!