To the editor: Apparently, emeritus history professor Joyce Appleby didn't have her article vetted by her colleagues in UCLA's physics or astronomy department. In the last paragraph she states that "the Earth in fact was shaped like a tomato," which is misleading. ("How to end an argument," Op-Ed, Oct. 4)
Although there is some flattening of the Earth at the poles, the value of the flattening is about one part in 300, a number that is remarkably close to the one calculated by Isaac Newton. This is consistent with a near-perfect sphere.
Newton was a very smart guy; it's doubtful that he would mistake a sphere for a tomato.
Robert Mandl, El Segundo