Lord Rees, the academic institution's current president, said it was "both pleased and proud that such an extraordinary part of scientific history and important element of the Royal Society's archive collection can make this historic trip into space".
He said the piece of tree and picture of Sir Isaac will go on to form part of the History of the Royal Society exhibition that the society will be holding later this year and will then be held as a permanent exhibit.
In the story, Sir Isaac claimed to have been inspired by a falling apple in his garden to investigate the theory of gravitation.
Three centuries later, a British astronaut is set to take a piece of the same tree on a gravity-defying mission in the opposite direction.Piers Sellers, who will be the last Briton to fly on a space shuttle when Atlantis blasts off on its final mission later this week, has packed a four-inch sliver of wood from the tree that inspired the 17th-century physicist in the spaceship’s hold.With Bongo Peet on Wash Board, Scott Bowman on Banjo, Adam Beale on Bass, Ben Jefferies on Guitar and Toby Davy on Drums, the boys deliver an array of timeless classics as you have never heard them before.The unique blend of bluegrass pop and acoustic folk renditions of some of the most famous songs of the last 50 years is something that has to be heard to be believed!The tree we have growing here in The Physics Department was provided for us by Kew Gardens in 1976.
It came from the Cambridge Botanical Gardens who obtained it from the Fruit Research Station at East Malling in Kent.Although Newton did not specify from which tree he observed the apple fall it turned out that it was the only apple tree growing in his garden and thus it selected itself.This was first mentioned by Sir David Brewster when he visited the house in 1830, the account of which was given by George Forbes (Professor of Physics University of Glasgow) The tree had been cared for since the 1750’s by generations of the Woolerton family, who were tenant farmers who lived in the house from 1733 to 1947.The first account of their being a specific tree in his garden from which Newton saw the apple fall appears in the book ‘A History of the Town and Soak of Grantham’ by Edmund Turnor FRS (1806) in which there appears the footnote on p160: His brother the, Rev.Charles Turnor, drew the accompanying picture of the tree in 1820 showing its position with respect to the manor house.Its appearance in 1998 is shown in the above photograph.