From Newton’s Apple Tree to Dundee

Sir Isaac Newton was famously sitting under an apple tree, when a falling apple inspired his revolutionary theories about gravity. Now, seeds from that very same apple tree are to be grown in Dundee.


As part of a project led by The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), the national charity that brings together the UK’s major science engagement organisations, seedlings have been collected and sent to Dundee Science Centre and others throughout the UK.

Viewing the initiative as scope for a ‘fruitful’ collaboration, the Centre approached the nearby James Hutton Institute, to establish whether they could provide the expertise and loving care required to grow the pips inside until such time as the resultant saplings can be exposed to the Scottish weather, which will hopefully trigger them to grow and flourish successfully. It is intended that a ‘Newton’ apple tree will eventually be planted outside Dundee Science Centre, where there is already an urban orchard, and that James Hutton Institute would also have one on-site at Invergowrie.

Today, Alison Dobson, Plant Production Technician from the James Hutton Institute met with Rebecca Erskine, Exhibition and Community Engagement Manager from Dundee Science Centre to celebrate the partnership.


Alison Dobson said, “We are delighted to be able to contribute our expertise to this prestigious and symbolic activity that signifies contributions to science, past, present and future. Like Dundee Science Centre, the James Hutton Institute champions the understanding of science and participation in science.”

Rebecca Erskine added, “We are really excited to be part of this project, celebrating scientific creativity and sharing this story with our many audiences. We are very grateful to be working in collaboration with James Hutton Institute in growing these important seeds and helping children and adults to get involved with science in a hands-on and inspirational way, and building the skills we need to create a better world for the future. This unique and rare event is in celebration of the World’s first UNESCO-backed International Science Centre and Science Museum Day. “

The apple pips have been donated by National Trust’s Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, the birthplace and family home of Sir Isaac Newton. Newton’s tree still flourishes in the orchard there and continues to inspire visitors from all across the world.

“Pips from the tree are currently in space on the International Space Station, originally sent up with Tim Peake as part of his ‘Principia’ mission. They have certainly travelled far and wide!” said Jannette Warrener, Operations Manager for Woolsthorpe Manor. “I’m delighted to share apple pips with other amazing sites for science across the country and hope that the project will engage young people with the fascinating story of Newton. He truly shaped modern scientific thinking here at Woolsthorpe when he worked on his theory of gravity and also explored light and calculus.”

James Hutton Institute is at the forefront of meeting the global challenges of providing food, energy and water from finite land and natural resources. The institute is a world-leading scientific research organisation focused on land, crops, water and the environment.



For more information, please contact:

Dr Penny Fidler
The ASDC CEO and Project Director
0117 915 0186
07791 554 029
Shaaron Leverment
Deputy CEO
0117 925 9752

Jannette Warrener, Operations Manager
(or Margaret Winn, conservation manager)
Woolsthorpe Manor
Water Lane
Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth
Grantham, NG33 5PD
T: 01476 862 820

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