The Historical Advancement of Astronomy

What if there was no apple tree for Newton?

After completing the homework assignment on historical astronomers, I found myself diving into the internet to find out more on the astronomers we researched. This trip down the wormhole of the internet led me to an article about Isaac Newton, titled: “What if there was no Apple tree?” This article ponders what would have happened if Isaac Newton had not observed the apples falling from his tree and asking the question: what force causes this downward motion? As the picture above shows, Newton would have never generated some of the founding principles of physics and astronomy if his face had been locked in on an iPhone rather than looking up and pondering the great questions of life.

These thoughts beg the question: have we as a society lost out on possibly world-altering discoveries due to the loss of some of our greatest minds to technology? Newton’s discoveries and laws advanced science in a way unmatched by most in the history of our civilization. By how many years did Newton’s discoveries advance scientific knowledge? By how many years have we fallen behind as our family, friends, classmates and people around dive further into their phones and further from true thought encouraging the advancement of knowledge?

These questions must be asked as we truly are losing out on advancement. There are many great minds throughout the world making unbelievable advancements, but how much further could we as a collective society go if we spent less time looking at our iPhones and more time watching the apples fall?

2 thoughts on “The Historical Advancement of Astronomy

  1. It is a really interesting question to pose if there were no apple tree, however there are many other ways that gravity could have been noticed by Newton if not a different scientist later. Although it is a respectable point to make that we need to be less on our phones and experience the world more in order to make new discoveries, it may also be important to utilize the technologies that we have to enhance our understanding of the world. The internet allows us to instantly see what other people around the world are thinking about on the same subjects, therefore opening up the scientific conversation. What do you think about how technology can help us?


  2. It seems like a trade off between technology and physical discovery. Due to technology, we have been able to do extremely amazing things such as going to the moon and observing other galaxies and star systems. Personally, I think the trade off is definitely worth it. Do you think we should give up on more technologically advanced discoveries and focus on physical ones?


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