Newton’s tree in India ?

Sir Isaac Newton’s iconic apple tree, which is believed to have inspired the British physicist to propose the theory of gravity nearly 350 years ago and holds a special place in the annals of science, may soon have a descendant in India to inspire the next generation of scientists.

The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune is on an ambitious mission to graft a Newton tree shoot on Indian apple trees growing in its courtyard, said its director Somak Raychaudhury.

Clones and descendants of the tree have reached many countries of the world, with a genetically identical tree growing at Newton’s alma mater, Trinity College, Cambridge.

People have tried growing trees far and wide from the temperate, shady garden in Newton’s home in Lincolnshire, England. One such effort was made in India in 1997 by Jayant V Narlikar, then IUCAA director.

“It would be a wonderful thing to grow the tree, especially since so much astronomy is rooted in Newton’s thinking,” he said.

The IUCAA is currently experimenting with the idea of grafting a Newton tree shoot onto Indian apple trees

The idea is to grow an Indian friendly hybrid by grafting a ‘Newton Tree’ onto an Indian apple tree, he said.

“If you actually do something which can spread the magic of science and generate interest about science, it is welcome,” he said, adding that he is in discussions with experts in England to make the tree work.PTI

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