Sometimes our best ideas come when we least expect them. For Greek mathematician Archimedes, this happened during a trip to the local baths. The king of Syracuse had put him in charge of finding out how to detect fraud in the manufacture of a golden crown. The king suspected his goldsmith was leaving out some of the gold and substituting it with silver.
The Treaty Oak tree was an old and cherished member of the community. For 600 years, it had stood proudly over the spot where the city of Austin, Texas would one day be. The tree was revered by the native people who predated the city. According to a legend, the tree stood as a witness when European settlers made a treaty with the Native Americans. It was a magnificent tree with branches stretching over 130 feet. The Treaty Oak was loved by all… except for one deranged man, who tried to kill it.
The oldest tree in the world died one day in 1964. Its name was Prometheus, and Donald Currey cut it down. It was not only the oldest tree, but the oldest living thing ever recorded. Currey wasn’t an un-caring logger or farmer making room for crops. He was a 30-year-old graduate student doing research into climate change throughout history.