Social distancing is working. But we have to keep going. This is when it matters the most. We are going in the right way. The situation we are facing today is quite similar to what Issac Newton in his early 20s faced. He wasn’t a “Sir” yet when the Great Plague of London hit. He was also in lockdown owing to the Bubonic plague.
But as similar too, the lockdown did not stop him from following his spirit. The 350 years old plague somehow triggered a miracle to happen. By maintaining social distancing, Newton came up with his most crowned discovery and pathbreaking theory that changed the world forever. “During a pandemic, Issac Newton had to work from home, too…” writes Washington post.
Without knowing what causes plague, people back then still practiced some of the same things we do to avoid illness. Social distancing was one of them, which Issac Newton used wisely to make most out of it. Back then, he was just a student at Trinity College when the plague started. Probably it was the abundance of time during the isolation that gave him an opportunity to concentrate and dive deeper.
It is said that in 1665, after scoring his Bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Newton had to discontinue his further education temporarily, due to the outbreak. Who knew that this young man was soon going to propound theories of optics, calculus, and even gravity. He became one of the most prominent personalities in the world of science, mathematics, and astronomy, and established himself as one of the greatest minds of modern science.
The book Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life reveals the story when Newton and his friend went to a garden and experienced the famous falling of apples:
“…we went into the garden, & drank them under the shade of some apple trees, only he, & myself. amidst other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. “why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,” thought he to himself: occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a contemplative mood: “why should it not go sideways, or upwards? but constantly to the center of the earth? assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. there must be a drawing power in matter. & the sum of the drawing power in the matter of the earth must be in the earth’s center, not on any side of the earth. therefore dos this apple fall perpendicularly, or toward the center. if matter thus draws matter; it must be in proportion of its quantity. therefore the apple draws the earth, as well as the earth, draws the apple.”
Newton confirmed that this event gave him the inspiration to work on his theory of gravitational force.