April 26, 2006

Look out below! Case Western Reserve University to dedicate planting of Sir Isaac Newton apple tree descendant on campus

National Arbor Day the setting of dedication of tree donated to Case by director of National Science Foundation

Newton's Tree
The dedication follows Dr. Bement's
11:30 a.m. seminar, "Daring Greatly:
Science and Technology's Role in the
Nation's Future." Nord 310

Case Western Reserve University is now home to what is thought to be Ohio's first apple tree that is a direct descendant of Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree, thanks to the director of the National Science Foundation.

In a ceremony on Friday, April 28, which is National Arbor Day, the university will formally dedicate the tree donated by Arden Bement, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), who is a former Cleveland resident and former part-time faculty member at Case. The dedication ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. on the Case Quad at the tree's location between Adelbert Hall and the Rockefeller Building, home to the university's physics department.

The Case tree is a 7th generation descendant of the one legendarily used by Newton in stating his theory of gravity. It is one of only about three dozen Newton apple tree descendants planted in North America.

"This is no ordinary tree," said Case Provost and University Vice President John Anderson, who will be on hand for the dedication with Bement and Arthur Heuer, University Professor and Kyocera Professor of Ceramics at Case. "As the Newton tree grows, it is our hope that it provides a point of interest for science at Case and a landmark for students and visitors alike who will seek out the tree as a must-see."

Prior to the dedication, Bement will lead a seminar, "Daring Greatly: Science and Technology's Role in the Nation's Future," at 11:30 a.m. in Nord Hall, room 310.

Bement and Heuer, a faculty member in the department of materials science and engineering, are long-time friends. Bement received the tree cutting as a going-away gift from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md., when he left that agency in 2004 to lead the NSF. He also was a former vice president of technical resources and science and technology for TRW in Cleveland.

According to Newton's biographer William Stukeley, Newton formulated his theory of gravity in 1665 and 1666 while watching an apple fall from the Case tree's ancestor near his home in Woolsthorpe, England. Despite popular anecdotes, he did not come to his conclusion as a result of an apple falling on top of his head, but the falling apple did provide the inspiration for Newton to formulate his theory.

The approximately three-year-old tree at Case may eventually attain a height of 32-35 feet. It bears fruit of the "Pride of Kent" or "Flower of Kent" variety, which is also now known as "Newton's Apple." The original Newton apple tree was at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, England, Newton's birthplace and country home near Grantham. Before that tree died in a 19th century storm, graft wood and cuttings were taken to propagate more trees. A few other trees have been planted around the globe, including at NIST and such institutions of higher education as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Babson College in Massachusetts, the University of Nebraska, University of Wisconsin, Washington State University and York University in Canada.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, April 26, 2006 04:06 PM | News Topics: College of Arts and Sciences, Events, Lectures/Speakers, Provost Initiatives, Science, Technology

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.