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Newton and the ascent of water in plants

Buried in a notebook from his undergraduate days lie Newton's musings on the movement of sap in trees. Viewed in conjunction with our modern understanding of plant hydrodynamics, his speculations seem prescient.

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Figure 1: Godfrey Kneller's 1689 portrait of Isaac Newton aged 46.
Figure 2: ‘Vegetables’, an excerpt from Newton's 1661–1665 notebook, p. 102.
Figure 3: Coastal redwoods, the tallest trees on Earth.



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Correspondence to David J. Beerling.

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Beerling, D. Newton and the ascent of water in plants. Nature Plants 1, 15005 (2015).

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