Isaac Newton: Why apples are falling on Google today

Google celebrates Isaac Newton's birthday with an animated homepage.

Happy Birthday, Isaac Newton. In honor of his 367th birthday, Google created an animated apple logo.

Isaac Newton, one of the most important names in science, has inspired a surprising logo swap on Google's homepage.

The mind behind our modern laws of gravity and motion would have turned 367 years old on January 4. The search engine giant is ringing in the big day with its first animated "Google doodle."

Newton's fame began in 1666, shortly after watching an apple drop from a tree. The falling fruit did not bop him on the head, as the tale is popularly told; but the young physicists was struck with a flash of insight. People always knew that gravity existed – humanity had seen many apples fall before the 1600s. Yet many questioned whether the rules on Earth applied in outer space. The plummeting apple made Newton realize that gravity is universal and, in fact, controlled the orbit of the moon.

This is a big event among science types, and Google revealed its geeky roots by outdoing themselves with today's novelty logo.

The new banner shows an apple succumb to gravity and thud on the ground. (See the video below.) This is first example of an animated Google logo and the only photorealistic one – at least the first that we can remember.

Google pushed the envelope with its perplexing barcode logo last October. However, most of the search engine's logo swaps fit into the mold of simple digital birthday cards, such as those for H.G. Wells, Gandhi, and E.C. Segar, creator of Popeye the Sailor.

Whom should Google honor next – especially now that it's branched into animated graphics? A hip-shaking Elvis Presley (whose birthday is Jan. 8)? A kite bobbing above Benjamin Franklin (Jan. 17)? Or maybe a raven looming over Edgar Allen Poe (Jan. 19)? Let us know your choice in the comments or keep up with sci-tech news on our Twitter feed.

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