Spreading the Word: Newton, Self-isolation and Productivity

In this week’s “Spreading the Word”, I share with you an article by a professor of science Thomas Levenson published recently in The New Yorker. In it, our seemingly increased expectation to be more productive during the time spent in self-isolation is reviewed from an interesting point of view – taking Isaac Newton as an example. The analogy goes as follows: Newton lived in self-isolation during an outbreak of plague in Britain in the 17th century and used this time to produce exceptional results in his scientific work; so, if we use the time of our current self-isolation to finally start (insert as applicable), we can be as productive as Newton (of course, without necessarily revolutionizing any scientific discipline). However, as the author if this article demonstrates, it is, firstly, not so easy as it seems since there is much more work involved beyond the time spent in forced isolation, and, secondly, there might be a different point we can draw from Newton’s story. Namely – take the time you have now (and didn’t have before) to fuel the development of your strengths. Or as Levenson puts it:

“… the real lesson is to remember whatever aspect of your life that fired your passion before this mess—and to keep stoking it now.”

from the discussed article (link below)

Link to the article, enjoy!

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-truth-about-isaac-newtons-productive-plague

Photo by Flickr from Pexels

Keeping up the new “Spreading the Word” tradition, every Thursday I hope to share with you an article I’ve read or a video I’ve seen and considered it to be inspiring or enlightening. Especially now, during our increasingly uncertain times and growing social distancing, I feel it is important to take good care not just of our physical but also of our mental well-being. Humans have always turned to storytelling when everything else fails. My Thursdays’ “Spreading the Word” articles are an online version of sharing worthwhile stories.

keep exploring and storytelling!

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