National Trust launches Time and Space Award to inspire next Sir Isaac Newton at his Woolsthorpe Manor home and help bring lockdown ideas to life
A new awards scheme worth £5,000 to support the next Sir Isaac Newton opens today (Wednesday, January 10).
The National Trust has opened applications for the Time and Space Award, which will support young people aged between 16 and 25 to bring their ideas to life at Newton’s home, Woolsthorpe Manor, a farmhouse near Grantham. There the famous apple tree still stands in the garden.
Each award will be a bespoke package of mentoring, time with experts and extra support and expenses to help young people explore their own big idea in one of four areas: science, art and culture, society, nature and climate.
National Trust director of communications and marketing Celia Richardson said: “National Trust places belong to the nation and often they house extraordinary creative, scientific and geopolitical legacies. We want to use them to inspire the future as well as explore the past. This award is about opening up a place that’s fizzing with historic significance and inviting today’s young people to use it to understand, explore, and challenge the way we see the world.
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“History is often made by young people, and that certainly happened here. Woolsthorpe Manor has since become a site of pilgrimage to many - including Albert Einstein. We’re delighted to be able to use the house for new inventions and ideas. We can’t wait to share a Newtonian apple pie with the winners and hear about how they want to change the world.”
Aged just 23, Newton had his ‘year of wonders’ after being forced home from university by a pandemic – the Great Plague. He used the time and space away from his everyday life to explore things he was relentlessly curious about. As a result, he made world-changing discoveries about calculus, optics, motion and gravity.
He later said he was in the “prime of his age for invention” at 23 and now new research has found that today’s young people, who lived through the Covid-19 lockdowns, are more creative as a result. An estimated three million people aged between 16 and 25 had an idea during lockdowns that they are yet to make happen and half of young people said the lockdowns made them more creative. But 92% said money, time and confidence were the biggest barriers to make their ideas a reality.
A panel of judges including Professor David Olusoga, British space scientist Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, scientist, and climate and biodiversity communicator Megan McCubbin and TV presenter, social and environmental activist Tayshan Hayden-Smith, alongside National Trust representatives, will choose winners in each of the four areas.
Dame Maggie said: “I know young people with big dreams and world-changing ideas are out there. This award is your amazing chance to bring them to life."
Applications will be based on answering a big question on one of the four themes and can be made in writing, via video or via audio. It is hoped the scheme will help unlock the potential of young people from across the country and from a wide range of backgrounds. You can enter at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/who-we-are/news/time-and-space-newton-competition
Woolsthorpe Manor, which reopens to visitors on February 10, is where a young Isaac is believed to have undertaken his key light experiment in a bedroom now known as Newton’s chamber.
He bored a tiny hole in the wooden shutters so only a thin pencil of light could enter the darkened room. The young Isaac was fascinated by the effect that physical limitations might have on what people see. He almost blinded himself twice by exploring the repercussions of squeezing his eyeball with a large blunt needle and staring directly at the sun with one eye.
The Time and Space Award follows a programme the National Trust ran in 2022, which saw young musicians given the chance to write and perform at 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood home of Sir Paul and Mike McCartney and ‘the birthplace of the Beatles’, where around 30 songs were written. Serena Ittoo, Emily Theodora, Dullan and HUMM were chosen to perform their original songs written after visiting the house, for Paul’s 80th birthday. Ni Maxine and TRAITS covered Love Me Do for its 60th anniversary and also recorded their own music in the house.
The deadline for entries for a Time + Space Award is April 30. Anyone submitting a valid application will also be given a free National Trust day pass for two, to enable them to visit any of the places the Trust cares for to have some time and space to wonder.