In his 2003 book "The Pawprints of History: Dogs in the Course of Human Events," Coren describes one fateful day when Newton was working on his theories by candlelight, with the Pomeranian by his side, when he was drawn away by a knock at the front door. The feisty little dog, left alone in the study, excitedly ran about in response to the surprise visitor, sparking disaster:
On one circuit of the room Diamond apparently collided with the leg of Newton's small writing table, and the shock of her collision caused the burning candle to tip over, directly onto the manuscript. In the resulting fire there was actually little damage to the room, but the manuscript that Newton was working on was completely destroyed.
Despite the incredible loss of months of work, the famed British scientist was surprisingly understanding. He is said to have lifted his dog into his arms, exclaiming "Oh, Diamond, Diamond, little do you know the mischief you have done me!"
Sir David Brewster cites contemporary sources that tell of a similar account in his 1833 biography, "The Life of Sir Isaac Newton." Though some details differ from Coren's telling, both authors agree that the unfortunate canine-caused fire had a profound effect on Newton's productivity afterward.
Brewster calls the fire "an epoch in [Newton's] history," causing him to spiral into a depression that took months to recover from.
"It would be close to a full year before Newton would reconstruct the theory of gravity in full," writes Coren. "Thus an entire year of intellectual life and research, by one of the greatest scientific minds of his era, was lost due to the actions of a dog."
Some scholars have questioned whether the story is true, or, as with the apple tree legend, if it's more likely an apocryphal tale. But while definitive proof may be lost to history, anyone who has ever been in the company of a high-strung dog knows such little mishaps are not only possible - they're as inevitable as gravity itself.