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Jocelyn Bowie
College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Let Newton Be!' presents entertaining view of iconic scientist

What: "Let Newton Be," a play by Craig Baxter
When: April 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana Memorial Union
Who: Menagerie Theatre Company, Cambridge, England
Admission: Free, no tickets required; seating is first-come, first-served

March 29, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- England's Menagerie Theatre Company will perform its production of the Craig Baxter play "Let Newton Be!," bringing to life the complex and controversial character and iconic figure of Sir Isaac Newton, at Indiana University Bloomington on April 17.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Admission is free and open to the public, and tickets are not required. Seating is limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Let Newton Be!

"Let Newton Be!" explores the life and thought of a genius whose scientific theories still provide the foundations for our understanding of the Universe today. Newton was a devout, difficult, obsessive man who sought and found God in universal laws of light and motion.

"Isaac Newton, the consummate master of physics and mathematics in the Scientific Revolution, turns out to have been a much more conflicted and complicated figure than most of his contemporaries realized," said Bill Newman, an expert on Newton and a professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in the IU College of Arts and Sciences. "This production does full justice to the multiple sides of Newton's fascinating character."

The local production is being sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the departments of History and Philosophy of Science, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Astronomy, and the IU School of Optometry.

Theatrical and entertaining as well as informative for both specialist and general audiences, the play uses three actors, video and clever stage design to show a different way to see the world of Newton -- the clash between scientific discovery and religious orthodoxy, a story of obsession and isolation.

The three incarnations of Newton battle with each other for their place in history.

  • The young boy measuring the speed of wind;
  • The isolated Cambridge scholar, practicing alchemy in the secrecy of his darkened room; and
  • The autocrat of British science, ruling the Royal Society with an iron fist.

Menagerie Theatre Company is the foremost producer of new theater writing in the east of England. The play was specially commissioned by the Faraday Institute of Cambridge University. The performance will be followed by a discussion between the actors and the audience.

Call the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, 812-855-9334, for more information.