Just over two years ago the Department of Mathematical Sciences celebrated the planting of a direct descendant from Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree.
Two years on, thanks to the dedication of the campus Gardens team, the tree is flourishing and growing well.
Professor Roger Smith from Maths arranged for a small group from the department and the Gardens team to visit National Trust property Woolsthorpe Manor (pictured), Newton's childhood home, in March 2018 to take cuttings from the apple tree ‘Flower of Kent’ as a gift from the National Trust to the University.
The original tree still stands and would have been clearly visible from Newton’s bedroom where he carried out many optical experiments and where he formulated his many theories of optics, mechanics and gravitation while Cambridge University was closed during the Great Plague of 1665/6.
In the twenty months prior to the planting, the University’s Gardens team nurtured the cuttings until they were developed enough to be planted on the campus.
The cuttings were grafted onto specially selected rootstock and cared for in pots over the summer. Three of the grafts were viable and the strongest of these was planted, in a specially created area which was designed by the Gardens team to recreate the tree’s original setting at Woolsthorpe Manor. The low natural fence was hand woven from hazel coppiced on the campus. Inside the fence, over 200 Galanthus Nivalis (snowdrops) were planted.
The tree was planted outside the Schofield Building by Sir Michael Berry and Sir David Wallace (a previous Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University) in November 2019 as a reminder of the significant contribution Sir Isaac Newton made to physics and mathematics.
If you haven't already seen the tree, make sure you head over to the Schofield Building to check it out!