Why does nobody know about Newton’s tree?

Brown’s campus has over one hundred trees. None of these trees should go unnoticed, but there is one in particular that should stand above the rest. In the center of the parking lot between Hope and George street, an apple tree was firmly rooted. This tree, unlike others like it on campus, came from a graft of the legendary tree that dropped an apple on Sir Isaac Newton’s head, which famously led to his theory of gravity. While Brown’s campus is home to this piece of living history, most people on campus do not even know it exists.

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15 years ago, Professor Humphrey Maris of the Physics department, ordered a piece of the famous tree from a plant nursery. It was no higher than 3 feet when Professor Maris planted the tree in between the Applied Mathematics building and Barus and Holley.

In May 2014, plans for a new Applied Mathematics building were announced. The location was set to be right where the infamous apple tree stands. Construction began in November 2014, and Brown released a picture of the site just days before ground broke. And in the photo: all the trees still firmly rooted into the ground.

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