Newton's Apple

Newton's Apple

The Newton's Apple title.
Created by James Steinbach
Starring Ira Flatow
David Heil
Peggy Knapp
SuChin Pak
Dave Huddleston
Brian Hackney
Eileen Galindo
Opening theme "Ruckzuck" by Kraftwerk
Country of origin United States
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) KTCA
Audio format Mono (1983–1984)
Stereo (1984–1999)
Original release October 15, 1983 – October 31, 1999

Newton's Apple is an American educational television program produced and developed by KTCA of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, and distributed to PBS stations in the United States that ran from October 15, 1983, to January 3, 1998, and in reruns until October 31, 1999. The show's title is based on the rumor of Isaac Newton sitting under a tree and an apple falling near him — or, more popularly, on his head — prompting him to ponder what makes things fall, leading to the development of his theory of gravitation (an event often loosely described as him "discovering" gravity). The show was produced by Twin Cities Public Television (tpt). For most of the run, the show's theme song was Ruckzuck by Kraftwerk, later remixed by Absolute Music. Earlier- and later- episodes of the show featured an original song.

NPR science correspondent (and current host of Science Friday) Ira Flatow was the show's first host, later succeeded by David Heil, then assistant director of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Peggy Knapp was a longtime field reporter and served as co-host in the 14th season. The last season was hosted by the team of David Heil, Dave Huddleston, actress and voiceover artist Eileen Galindo, Brian Hackney and SuChin Pak, now a frequent host and pop culture reporter for MTV. An occasional short feature called "Science of the Rich and Famous" featured celebrities explaining a scientific principle or natural or physical phenomenon; for example, rock star Ted Nugent explained guitar feedback, Olympic Gold Medalist skater Scott Hamilton demonstrated angular momentum in the context of a skater's spin, Let's Make a Deal host Monty Hall explained principles of probability, and Betty White showed how cats purr.

"Newton's Apple" won numerous national awards including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Science Journalism Award, the Parent's Choice Award, and the 1989 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Series. James W. Head III was biology consultant for the series.

A segment in the early years, titled "Newton's Lemons," used 1950s-era newsreels of a device that was considered "futuristic" at the time of its introduction but had long since been forgotten.


Season 1 (1983–1984)

Season 2 (1984–1985)

Season 3 (1985–1986)

VHS releases

#VHS Episode TitleRelease Date
1 Newton's Apple - Episode 1 September 26, 1990
2 Newton's Apple - Episode 2 August 7, 1991
3 Artificial Heart August 7, 1991
4 Boomering Stars Chat August 7, 1991
5 Mummies Sport Clinic August 7, 1991
6 Episode 6 August 7, 1991
7 Dinosaurs Bulletproof August 7, 1991
7 Science Homeschool August 7, 1991
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