Gravity - what would we do without it?

Home » News » Simple sustainable development

The story that Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) thought up his theory of gravitational attraction after watching an apple fall to the ground from a tree in his orchard may or may not be true, but it is certainly true that nobody seems to have thought that an explanation of that event was necessary at all. Everything fell down if not propped up or supported, that was common sense. This did not stop people from using gravity for their own purposes.
The Romans and quite independently, the Chinese, made use of gravity to build arches and bridges; and waterwheels depend on water flowing under the influence of gravity to grind corn. On a much bigger scale, dams are still being built across rivers to form lakes from which water flows through turbines generating electricity.
A British charity, appropriately named 'Practical Action' devotes its knowledge and engineering skills to design and build solutions to problems of daily living in poorer countries where the terrain and the lack of resources make Hi Tech solutions unworkable.
Such a country is Nepal, well known for its mountains and lack of resources. Moving goods and people is a labour intensive matter. Wire ropeways, pulleys and other small items can be obtained from India, but the work can be carried out by local craftsmen trained by the charity representative. Wire cages are attached to the cables so that as one descends the other comes up with the goods. The motive power is gravity itself as the descending cage is loaded with lumps of rock. Everyone in the village including the children, plays a part in the scheme and collects rocks, large and small, to add to the pile near the ropeway loading platform. As for sustainability, the Himalaya mountain range is not likely to disappear in the near future.

Bob Weighton

popular recent storiesAlso in the news

church photo co nancy
Alton Webteam: Fri 10 Jul 11:50am

Dear Friends,This Sunday we welcome the Rev Ian Bowley to speak during our on-line service. Ian was a minister in our circuit in the past and has also been in active missionary work abroad. He was originally invited as part of our church anniversary celebrations at Alton.I also discovered that he married Rev. David and Aileen Ashby at Rowledge so it seems very fitting that they are also...

Sunday 12th
Alton Webteam: Thu 09 Jul 1:52pm

We welcome you all as we share together in worship.The service is led by Rev Philip Simpkins. Mrs Liz George and Rev Ian Bowley. Ian was a minister in this circuit several years ago and was invited to lead the Church Anniversary services at Alton this weekend. The bible passage is read by Mrs Pam JonesDavid & Aileen Ashby (Rowledge) Carole Gaines (Hale) , Jane Clabon and Angela Simpkins...

Pause for Th
Alton Webteam: Wed 08 Jul 7:38am

Our Pause for Thought this week is led by Rev Michael Hopkins of 'The Spire' Methodist/URC Church in...