Limits of Concentration
One evening, a friend arrived as scheduled to dine with Isaac Newton in his room. Finding him deeply engrossed in an abstruse mathematical problem, he simply sat down to wait.
Sometime later, a servant brought in dinner for one; Newton had forgotten about his invitation. When Newton continued to work at his desk, the friend, taking care not to disturb him, pulled up a chair and consumed Newton’s meal.
Shortly thereafter, Newton, having finished his work, finally looked up and was startled, first by the presence of his friend, and then by the absence of his dinner: ‘If it weren’t for the proof before my eyes,’ he declared, gazing at the empty plate, ‘I could have sworn that I had not yet dined.’
Source: “Mastering Essay & Answer Writing for UPSC Civil Services IAS/ IPS & State PSC Main Exam” by Dr Awdhesh Singh, available at