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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Windmill Doodle Found on Walls of Newton’s English Manor

Monday, December 11, 2017

England Newton graffitiLINCOLNSHIRE, ENGLAND—Live Science reports that conservator Chris Pickup of Nottingham Trent University discovered a doodle on the wall of Woolsthorpe Manor, Sir Isaac Newton’s childhood home. Pickup examined stone walls in the manor with a photographic technique called reflectance transformation imaging, which captured the faded outlines of an image of a windmill. As a boy, Newton may have drawn the windmill after observing one that had been built near the manor, Pickup says. Newton was born at the manor in 1642, and returned there from the University of Cambridge in 1665 during an outbreak of plague. He is known to have sketched and kept notes on the walls of his rooms as he experimented with splitting white light with prisms, and while developing the laws of motion and theory of universal gravitation. His friend William Stukeley wrote that Newton’s home was “full of drawings, which he [Newton] had made with charcoal. There were birds, beasts, men, ships, plants, mathematical figures, circles & triangles.” To read about excavations at the home of the English scientist Edward Jenner, the inventor of the smallpox vaccine, go to "The Scientist's Garden."

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