Mathematical Principles of Natural Fig Snacks

A recent One Big Happy has Joe cutting corners on a book report:


Classic kid behavior.

Joe’s title echoes the famous long palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal — Panama” (attributed to Leigh Mercer in 1948). And of course it confounds Isaac Newton — author of the monumental Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), first published in 1687 — and the excellent snack the Fig Newton (discussed at some length in my 5/20/15 posting “Fig time”), which is (remarkably) named after the town of Newton MA.

So it all goes back to the place name Newton ‘new town’ (given to a huge number of places) and the toponymic surname Newton derived from it.

Isaac Newton gave his name to the unit of force, the newton, and to a number of other things, most memorably the Apple Newton. From Wikipedia:

The Newton is a series of personal digital assistants developed and marketed by Apple Inc. An early device in the PDA category – the Newton originated the term “personal digital assistant” – it was the first to feature handwriting recognition.

On the name:

The first thing [Steve Sakoman] did was select a name for the project. Because Apple’s original logo … had a rendering of Isaac Newton sitting beneath an Apple tree, Sakoman decided to name the project Newton. (link)


From Wikipedia on the Newton/apple story:

Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree. Although it has been said that the apple story is a myth and that he did not arrive at his theory of gravity in any single moment, acquaintances of Newton (such as William Stukeley, whose manuscript account of 1752 has been made available by the Royal Society) do in fact confirm the incident, though not the cartoon version that the apple actually hit Newton’s head.


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