Newton's apple seeds to grow on Wellcome Genome Campus

Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science celebrate International Science Centre Day

Newton's apple seeds to grow on Wellcome Genome Campus


Sir Isaac Newton was famously sitting under an apple tree, when a falling apple inspired his revolutionary theories about gravity. Today, seeds from that very same apple tree have been collected and sent to specially selected UK Science Centres and Science Museums, including the Wellcome Genome Campus.

appletree.jpgAnn Blackett
Newton's apple tree in National Trust’s Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, the birthplace and family home of Sir Isaac Newton, from which the seeds have been taken.

Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science applied for the seeds so that they can grow their own Newton's Apple Tree under which they can share the Campus' science and stories with school children and the public. 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 Centre, originally sent up with Tim Peake as part of his ‘Principia’ mission. They have certainly travelled far and wide! 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.”

Jannette Warrener, Operations Manager for Woolsthorpe Manor

This project has been made possible through a partnership with The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), the national charity that brings together the UK’s major science engagement organisations. Together UK Science centres and museums involve 20 million children and adults every year with science through their hands-on science programmes, schools science programmes and community activities.

On Thursday November 10th 2016, Science Centres and Science Museums across the world are joining forces to celebrate International Science Centres and Science Museum Day. The day, backed by UNESCO, recognises at the highest levels the huge contribution that science centres and museums make every day, on every continent, in inspiring young people and families with science.

"We are delighted to be able to celebrate the day by sharing Newtons's apples seeds with families and the public through the impressive network of UK science centres. As a nation and a global society we have some major challenges ahead that will take scientific creativity and entrepreneurship to solve. Science Centres and Museums are at the heart of bringing the latest science to the public across the UK and helping children and adults to get involved with science in a hands-on and inspirational way, building the skills we need to create a better world for the future."

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO of The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC)

“World Science Day is an excellent initiative, which Connecting Science is proud to be part of. This initiative is an excellent example of engaging the wider public with science in a different and interesting way.”Dr Julian Rayner, Director of Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science

Notes to Editors

30 Science and Discovery centres and related organisations have been selected to plant Newton's Apple Seeds.

Recipients include:

National Space Centre


Science Museum


Glasgow Science Centre


Our Dynamic Earth


Eden Project


The Royal Society


Thinktank, Birmingham Museums Trust


Centre for Life






Dundee Science Centre


Eureka! The National Children's Museum


At-Bristol Science Centre


Observatory Science Centre


Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre


Cambridge Science Centre


Aberdeen Science Centre


Techniquest Glyndwr

North Wales

Oxford Centre for innovation


Winchester Science Centre


The Royal Astronomical Society


STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory


STFC Daresbury Laboratory


Royal Observatory Greenwich


Royal Observatory Edinburgh


About Newton's apple seeds

Apple seeds from the tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton have also made an epic journey into space. Seeds from the apple tree that inspired one of the world's greatest scientists have joined British astronaut Tim Peake on his journey into space. Tim's mission was named Principia after Sir Isaac Newton's book about forces and gravity

About Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton was born at Woolsthorpe Manor in 1642 and made many of his most important discoveries about light and gravity there, in the plague years of 1665-6. As well as his ground-breaking scientific work, Newton went on to be Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, President of the Royal Society and Master of the Royal Mint. Newton is famously quoted as saying: ‘it was an afternoon such as this - in the orchard at Woolsthorpe – that occasioned my thoughts on gravity’…..

About apple trees

Apple trees take many years to grow. On arrival at the science centres the pips will be planted in a flowerpot and put in the fridge to simulate winter, and then in February be taken out to warmer conditions which will trigger them to grow. Not all will germinate and we are sending each centre several seeds.

Selected Websites
Contact the Press Office

Emily Mobley, Media Manager

Tel +44 (0)1223 496 851

Dr Samantha Wynne, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 492 368

Dr Matthew Midgley, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 494 856

Wellcome Sanger Institute,
CB10 1SA,

Mobile +44 (0) 7748 379849

Recent News

Jumping genes can cause rare developmental disorders in children
Diagnoses achieved for three more children in the Deciphering Developmental Disorders project
First cell map of developing human liver reveals how blood and immune systems develop
Resource improves understanding of normal development and will support efforts to tackle diseases, such as leukaemia, that can form during early life
Fresh insights could lead to new treatments for liver disease
The fight against liver disease could be helped by the discovery of cells that cause liver scarring