Newton documentary to make PBS premiere

“In the Footsteps of Newton,” a documentary examining the life of Sir Isaac Newton, will make its television premiere, Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. on WFYI in Indianapolis, Ind.

Note: The documentary will also air at 8 p.m. in Jefferson and Switzerland counties on Time Warner Cable's HCTV channel 22.

Shot on location in England, the work was written, filmed and produced by a group of Hanover students and their professors. The documentary reveals more about the man whom history has dubbed the greatest scientist who ever lived than just his theory of gravity.

During the spring term of 2011, Professor of Mathematics Nancy Rodgers took her History of Math class to England to follow Newton from his birthplace at Woolsthorpe Manor in Grantham, about 25 miles south of London, to his tomb at Westminster Abbey. Instructor of Communication Elizabeth Winters, who was in the U.K. with her video production students at the same time, had her students film Rodgers’ students; the footage ultimately led to the documentary.

“I thought it would be a fascinating story because Newton himself is such a fascinating character,” said Rodgers. “I wanted the students to experience this, and I think it made quite a difference. You get a really personal connection that you just don’t get from reading a biography.”

Throughout the 30-minute documentary, as the classes traveled to significant places in Newton’s life, the students shared their feelings about what they were learning. Others shared of the connection found between their own lives and Newton’s.

The project debuted last May at the Ohio Theatre in Madison, Ind.

A video podcast of “In the Footsteps of Newton” will be available on WFYI's web site in early February.

WFYI Public Media is Indiana’s largest Public Broadcasting Station and National Public Radio member station. Locally originated programming has earned WFYI 30 regional Emmy Awards in the past five years.