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1 [caption]: Cambridge, 1675:
1 Isaac Newton: What a strange dream I have had.
2 Isaac Newton: But it has given me renewed insight into my scientific investigations!
3 Isaac Newton: Gravitation! Calculus! And... oh yes...
4 Isaac Newton: The world will always remember Isaac Newton as the one who found the secret of turning lead into gold!
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The background here is a photo I took at my own alma mater, the University of Sydney. It's even more appropriate than it looks, since the architecture of the old university buildings was deliberately designed to echo that of Cambridge University.
The original tree graced my own period studying at the University, and I have very fond memories of it. In 2005 it was listed as on the register of historic or environmentally significant trees in Sydney, noted as one of Sydney's best known trees. In 2012, the city's Chief Arborist ranked it as one of the top 10 most significant trees in all of Sydney.
In 2016, unexpectedly to most people, the jacaranda tree died. It set off a wave of mourning. University alumni, myself among them, felt unaccountably saddened by the passing of a tree.
The University however had been aware for a couple of years that the tree was approaching the end of its life. They had taken cuttings and grafted them onto young rootstock to produce clones of the original tree. One was planted in the same location in 2017 and is now growing well and flowering each year like its predecessor. It will take several years to grow as large, but will no doubt provide students and staff many fond memories for years to come.
And across from the new jacaranda, in the adjacent corner of the University Quadrangle, they've also planted an Illawarra flame tree, a native Australian tree with striking red flowers that emerge at the same time as the jacaranda's purple flowers. There are jacarandas and flame trees growing in close proximity not far from my home, and in late spring they look absolutely magnificent together.
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