Today is the 367th birthday of Sir Isaac Newton, a patron saint of the WSU Discovery blog. His legendary revelation involving an apple and gravity is like a creation myth for science—see something, then ask a big question like, “What’s up with that?” or “Why is that no longer up?” If things work out, you get a world-altering concept like a theory of gravity.
Or you get one of the lesser but nevertheless interesting insights that now stream before us. Why just this morning the outlets we follow through the WSU Discovery Twitter site brought word of new planets outside our solar system, the value of denim in warding off snake bites and a new agent to ward off the HIV virus.
Then comes this item, unearthed with an entry in the box by the falling apple on today’s Google homepage: Our very own Tri-Cities branch campus has a tree that is a direct descendant of the one whose fruit so inspired Sir Isaac back in 1666. It’s outside the East Building, near the visitor parking lot. It was planted in 1987, before the official creation of the branch campus.
A rock at the tree’s base notes its origins but little else about it. Melissa O’Neil Perdue, WSU Tri-Cities marketing manager, reports the apple variety is “Pride of Kent,” now called “Newton’s Apple.”
“Our tree now is about 25 feet tall,” she says. “Archives indicate the tree was donated by a pair of Kentucky men — Stan Lemaster and Theodore Klein — who propagate historically important trees by sending them to educational institutions.”
For eating, the apples aren’t much, but she attests—and provides the attached documentation—that the tree is pretty when it blossoms.
Revelations big and small. Some days it seems like they’re everywhere.