Friday, 20 January 2017

from mathematical to bridge of sighs


Anyone who has ever been punting along the Backs at Cambridge will know the wooden bridge that joins the two halves of Queens' College. The myth was that Sir Isaac Newton built it entirely from wood. When students dismantled it, they were unable to rebuild it without bolts.

Untrue, because its mathematical design was later than Newton, by William Etheridge, and built by James Essex in 1749. The whole saga is still a good story, and even if Newton didn't build it, he did say "We build too many walls and not enough bridges."

A useful message for today, this January 20th, as another so-called builder is installed. What's that other bridge just north of the Wooden Bridge? Oh yes, The Bridge of Sighs.

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