Inside The New York Botanical Garden

A Bit of Scientific History Takes Root at NYBG

Posted in Video on November 3 2014, by Lansing Moore

neil degrasse tyson apple tree nybg todd forrest
Todd Forrest with Neil deGrasse Tyson

The New York Botanical Garden recently received a very special gift from none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson—a sapling, grown from a cutting of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous apple tree! The astrophysicist and host of the hit series Cosmos has his own roots here in the Bronx, so when Dr. Tyson came into possession of this very unique specimen (and found it impractical to keep an apple tree in his New York City apartment), he kindly thought of NYBG as a good home for this special little tree.

As the legend goes, Newton was first inspired to develop his law of universal gravitation when an apple from his ‘Flower of Kent’ apple tree fell on his head. Like so many legends, the truth is less dramatic. In this video below commemorating his visit to NYBG, Tyson explains that Newton was observing apples fall from the tree while noticing the moon in the sky. This image may be less comical, but it is nonetheless humbling to be brought so close to one of history’s greatest scientific advancements through a living plant—and a humble sapling no less!

Watch the full video below to see Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson speak with Todd Forrest, our VP for Horticulture and Living Collections. It is not everyday you see a horticulturist and an astrophysicist brought together by a common interest.


Barbara Reiner said:

great story….wonderful glimpse of brilliance….

William Cintron said:

Hey I’m flabbergasted by the idea that Mr.Neil deGrasse Tyson has a tree
from Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree: that gave us that motion thingy thing.
Will you ask him if he has anything from the Aliens in space, yea those guys
with large space ships that go to the sun to refuel.