DID you know that, if you hold a bicycle wheel up in front of you and spin it clockwise, while sitting on a swivel chair, you will spin anti-clockwise? Did you know that the reason that an ice skater spins faster when she straightens her legs and bring her arms in close to her body is because of the principle of conservation of angular momentum? Boys and girls revising for this summer’s physics exams will probably groan with weary familiarity at these hoary old chestnuts. But they came as a complete revelation to me when I attended this week’s launch of the programme for the Gravity Fields festival which will take place in and around Grantham from 21-28 September.
Scientists revere Isaac Newton. He is, for many, the most important scientist that has ever lived. So we should be very proud that it was in the fields of Woolsthorpe that he was reared and the halls of King’s School that he was raised.
I have always wondered why the town did not do more to celebrate the people that have given it historical significance. So I am delighted that SKDC is organising the Gravity Fields festival to commemorate Isaac Newton’s contribution to human progress and to explore the latest scientific discoveries with the help of contemporary stars of the scientific universe like KGGS old girl Professor Valerie Gibson from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Professor Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, and Chris Lintott, presenter of Sky at Night. It promises to be an exciting week that puts Grantham back on the scientific map, where it belongs.