How Newton discovered Gravity?
Little was known about it until last night when I returned from a trip that I had made into the past. The real goal of my time-trip was to bring an authentic powdered wig to use as a reference for an illustration, and never in my wildest dream had I imagined that I’d stumble upon something of this magnitude.
I know that the moment I tell the truth of what I had witnessed in Newton’s Apple orchard, the Newtonians would be baying for my blood. They’d call me names and accuse me of telling lies. Thankfully, I have knowledge of the whereabouts of a mummified apple that bears the marks of Newton’s teeth. I think this half-eaten fruit will establish the veracity of this serendipitous historical discovery of mine.
With all those claims and disclaimers in place, let me tell you what truly transpired in Newton’s orchard that beautiful autumn evening. You know that my time machine isn’t as accurate as it used to be, so I can’t tell you the exact date, but it must have been the year 1667.
My Time Machine had just ground and screeched to a halt. I got out and pulled it behind a dense grove of trees, where I thought it would be safe from prying eyes. After hiding the machine, I looked around to discover that I had landed in an apple orchard. I found it a rather nice place to spend the night. In the morning, I could go to the nearest market and buy a couple of nice powdered wigs and then leave. But before I could get back into my machine and bring out my sleeping bag, I heard the leaves rustle. A snake? With my heartbeats gone berserk, I checked. No snake, No rat, it all looked peaceful and good.
What could it be then? A man perhaps? I realized that the leaves were indeed rustling under the feet of a man who appeared to be dressed quite properly…perhaps he was the owner of the orchard. The silhouette belonged to a tall thin man. He moved rather slowly, as if he were unhappy or depressed about something. His golden locks shimmered in the dim light of the crescent moon. This obviously meant that he wasn’t wearing a wig. Tough luck. I could’ve just snuck up behind him and stolen it, had he been wearing one. It would’ve saved me the trip to the market. (Oh… about stealing? There aren’t any Across-Time laws against it, are they?)
Any way, he wasn’t wearing a wig, but when he turned and dropped under one of the Apple trees, I saw his profile. I knew that face so well that I almost shouted his name out. He was Newton! Yes, the guy who discovered gravity and who fought with Leibnitz over the ownership of Calculus ( but he didn’t know about any of this at the time – I had come from the future, so I obviously knew all what he was going to do in the future.) I felt sort of sad for him – I wanted to reveal myself, tell him that he was going to be famous in future and so he didn’t have to look so sad, but I stopped myself. I didn’t really want to mess up my time with any sort of butterfly effect, if you know what I mean.
So I stood in the shadows and watched him. Trust me, I had no idea that I was about to witness the historical fall of a historical apple, so when it happened, I wasn’t ready with my camera. I wish I had real pictures of the event to share with you, Sorry folks. I’ll just narrate the sequence of events to you, and show you this pen and ink drawing that I made upon my return to our time.
This story wouldn’t be the story it is, if that apple hadn’t fallen on Newton’s head. But it did fall, right upon the middle of his head, and then bounced off, hit the ground, and rolled off a small distance then stopped. Recall that Newton was in the thralls of depression that evening. So he didn’t exclaim, “Eureka”, or “Gravity,” or even “Laws of Motion!” He merely picked the apple up, wiped it gently with his wing (ok, I am talking Newtonese, so?) and sunk his teeth into it.
This is exactly what happened, and truthfully speaking, it was quite disappointing for me who was sure that this was THE apple. Perhaps not. Perhaps this wasn’t the apple that made him discover gravity. Either I was too early in time, or too late. I experienced a very real sense of loss…I mean, why couldn’t it have been that special apple?
I looked at him again. With that sad, depressed look in his eye, he went for another bite…and then he jumped. The apple still in his hands, his eyes were fastened on to something on or in the apple! I squinted to take a better look, adjusting my eyes to the low-light conditions.
“What…who are you?” said Newton.
“I am the Prince of Worms. Now will you please put the apple down so that I may crawl back to my home. Please,” requested the worm that had pulled itself out of a neatly drilled hole in the apple. Aside he grumbled, “It’s going to take me the whole night to crawl up now,”
“Why should I let you go?” asked Newton who was happy to have found an interesting pastime. Recall that he couldn’t have watched The Big Bang Theory to kill his ennui, because television wasn’t invented then.
“Oh well. What do you want?” asked the worm.
“I’ve got enough to live by, and I don’t have a wife nor children – so money isn’t something I want.”
“But there must be something that you’d like to have?”
“Fine,” said Newton, “can you make me famous?”
“Wow! Who do you think I am? The djinn?” said the worm, and then as an afterthought he added, “wait a minute. I have something that could make you famous.”
This obviously was something that interested Newton.
“What it it? Tell me and I’ll let you go.”
So the deal was struck. The worm sold the secret that had remained safe with his family for millions of generations. The biggest scientific discovery of all times, Gravity, now belonged to Newton. Newton was a man of his word. He let the worm go, then got up, dusted the seat of his tights, and rushed off.
The worm returned to his family, ashamed of the deed and was naturally castigated by his family. “You should’ve become a martyr instead of giving away the family secret,” shouted his grandfather. “You’ve brought the family nothing but shame,” said his father. All in all, his family gave him a really hard time, and before morning he had taken his own life by jumping into a cup of water.
I was there, I had witnessed it all – so I decided to set the record straight. Under the same apple tree under which Newton sat, I mummified and buried the half-eaten apple that had the wormhole, and the marks of Newton’s teeth on it. I know the exact location – right to the coordinates!
I have the proof, Dear Newtonians!