A quiz question appeared on TV today asking which famous person was born in the year that Galileo died. Isaac Newton was the answer, and the year was 1642. I’ve waffled on many a time about the year 1642, and every now and then something comes along that reminds me of the year. Or completely confuses me for that matter too.
At the time of Isaac Newton’s birth, two calendars were in use. The old one, and the new one. The old one, or ‘Julian’ calendar had Isaac Newton’s birthday as 25th December 1642. The new calendar, or ‘Gregorian’ calendar, had him born on 4th January 1643. And until the Gregorian calendar was adopted in the UK in 1752, the New Year began on March 25th. It must have been a very confusing time in those days with the two calendars… everyone would have needed to check the calendar when checking their diaries to make sure they had their appointment on the correct day. It’s a good thing Isaac Newton was born in that year (give or take) to start to sort things out. In a round about way. And, come to think of it, if New Years was in March in the Julian calendar, would the 4th January alternative birthday of Isaac still be classed in 1642 at the time? Time and space relativity become very confusing when different calendars get involved – especially with only a few days difference. It makes you ask the question why did they bother? Mind you, I suppose it’s like the times when a new twenty pound note is introduced into circulation and is used at the same time as the old version of the note, until the old one is withdrawn. They’re both in use and everyone knows which one they are using.
On 16th February 1643 the last major battle of the First English Civil War took place in Devon. Called the Battle of Torrington, I doubt Isaac Newton remembered it.
As today is February 16th, I have done a little search into the town of Torrington. Or Great Torrington as it is known today. The story of “Tarka the Otter” was written by Henry Williamson there in the 1920s. Not that I’ve read the story, I’m sorry to say, but I have heard of it… more so than the battle – but this goes to show how the most unlikeliest of things can be connected. Isaac Newton and Tarka the Otter… who would have thought it?
The thing I like doing is finding connections between seemingly unconnected events, times, things, people, etcetera. It’s all a bit like the Six Degrees of Separation, where we are all supposedly connected to each other by the ‘human web’, where through a friend of a friend we are six steps away from each other. Whether this six-step connection stems through the passing of time, I don’t know – although it seems unlikely – but connections are always there to be found.
And here’s something that may possibly be true… Aquatom1642 was born on February 16th. Could this be why this date sprang out at me when the question was asked in the TV quiz I was watching earlier? Well, it’s a good a reason as any, I suppose. I have a link to the year 1642. I’ll need to do some more digging to find out why, but I’m getting connections. More and more connections. Maybe I’m six steps away from finding out the answer…