Why do we use the term “fall in love”? It’s not a purely English idiom (though its been in use here for over 400 years); there are similar terms in French and Spanish apparently, but seemingly not Italian. Your theories please?
Anyway, this was one of the thoughts I was musing on as I broke my journey to Southend today in the village of Woolsthorpe. My destination there was an old Manor House, where the farmer died in 1642 shortly before the birth of his son on Christmas Day of the same year, a son who did his own musing on falling.
The building is fairly unremarkable for a farmhouse of its time, albeit having a celebrity tree in its grounds (though not without challengers to its title). The occupant of the house however was of such rare genius that centuries later he is still of huge significance. He would certainly have shown an interest in the recent Rosetta comet chaser, a project that wouldn’t have happened without him.
His research into light and optics clearly has implications for we photographers was undertaken here, though his advances in mathematics and mechanics are just as important and associated with Trinity College Cambridge.
Need any more clues?
Yes this is the man who taught us “why an apple falls down from the sky”. His coat of arms above the door might not have given it away, but the inscription certainly would, as would the plaque next to that tree.
Sadly he wasn’t around to provide a portrait with which to finish the piece, nor did he have any descendants, for the man who wrote of the laws governing falling objects seemed reluctant to fall himself. Voltaire wrote that he
was never sensible to any passion, was not subject to the common frailties of mankind, nor had any commerce with women