Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sir Isaac Newton and the Kitty Door.

17th century astronomer, alchemist, mathematician and physicist, Sir Isaac Newton was a cat lover. When he wasnt investigating the laws of gravity, describing the universal laws of motion or discovering white light was made up of rainbow colours, Sir Isaac was a bit of a softie when it came to cats. So much so that the great scientist is attributed with inventing the kitty door, or as we call it in his native England, the cat flap.

Sir Isaac Newton - astronomer, mathematician, physicist.

There are two versions of how this came about. The first is that Newton suffered from crippling headaches, possibly migraines, brought on by hours peering through a telescope at the stars. To recover he locked himself in a darkened room for days on end and cut a small hole in the bottom of the door through which his landlady pushed his meals. Happily, his pet cat discovered the convenience of coming and going as she pleased and adopted it as her own special door. When the queen then had kittens, fearing the hole was a little high to be comfortable for the little ones, he cut another smaller hole, slighlty lower down!

Sir Isaac Newton's telescope.

The second story was that Newton, gazing at the stars in his darkened observatory was frequently distracted by his favourite cat scratching to get in and reached the practical solution of cutting a hole in the door and veiling it with a black velvet curtain so that no stray light got in.
Whatever the explanation a fellow of Trinity College, J M F Wright, where Newton had once lived, wrote in his memoir in 1872:
'Whether this account [Newton and the kitty door] is true of false, it is indisputably true that to this day there are in the door two plugged holes of the proper sizes for the respective eggresses of cats and kittens.'

Because cats and kittens are cute.....

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