Science: Anti-Drop

An apple falling from a tree may have started Isaac Newton on the way to the Law of Gravitation, but such falls are disastrous to modern orchardists. They want to pick their fruit from the trees, not gather it off the ground. Grounded apples are spoiled by bruises and rotting. Science cannot suspend the Law of Gravitation for beleaguered orchardists, but last week it offered them a substitute in the form of a chemical apple-stem toughener.

Naphthalene acetic acid and naphthalene acetamide are two of the "growth substances" or hormone-like chemicals, which growers now...

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