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The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, & the Birth of the Modern World (2011)

door Edward Dolnick

LedenBesprekingenPopulariteitGemiddelde beoordelingAanhalingen
8212526,922 (3.92)49
A"New York Times"-bestselling author presents the true story of a pivotal moment in modern history when a group of strange, tormented geniuses--Isaac Newton chief among them--invented science and remade our understanding of the world.
  1. 20
    Ruimte en tijd verkenningen rond de melkweg door Timothy Ferris (rakerman)
    rakerman: Many of the same scientists show up in Coming of Age and The Clockwork Universe, with different emphasis and focus. The books complement one another, for example there are more details about Kepler's work in The Clockwork Universe.
  2. 10
    The Universe Within door Neil Turok (rakerman)
    rakerman: The Clockwork Universe is to some extent a history of science ending with Newton as the key figure; The Universe Within also provides a history of science but starts with Newton and then moves on to quantum physicists.
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Engels (24)  Catalaans (1)  Alle talen (25)
1-5 van 25 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
Disappointingly shallow. ( )
  breic | Dec 22, 2021 |
Interesting but not terribly memorable. Kind of like reading trival pursuit cards ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
I enjoyed this book although I have to admit some of the description of the science and mathematics was over my head, but the history and the rivalries among great scientist was a fun and interesting read. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Newton, 17th century history and science ( )
  klrabbit58 | May 3, 2021 |
What a mess! Very badly written history of
a major historical period. The author appears
to have rushed to finish manuscript. If I did
not know better I would have thought this was
written by a high school student. There are
much better histories of the Royal Society and
much better biographies of Isaac Newton.
This book is a complete waste of money. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
This is a lively and entertaining history of science in the 17th century, and the birth of the science that helped make the modern world. He gives us a history of the birth of modern mathematics and the science it enabled, including, but not only, modern astronomy. It's filled with not just the achievements but the personalities of Kepler, Galileo, Tycho, Leibnitz, Newton, Halley, and others. Both the achievements and the e egotistical silliness are on display here.

Unfortunately, Dolnick seems to be a better science writer than a historian. He speaks of these men having been born in a medieval world of faith, revealed truth, and predestination as if the preceding century of the had never happened.

In support of this, he quotes Jonathan Edwards--who was a New England Puritan preacher, i.e., one of the notable leaders in the 18th century of a sect that left England in the 17th century because they were Dissenters, unable to practice their religion without harassment in England. Neither the Church of England nor the Roman Catholic Church did or ever has embraced predestination.

He says people didn't bathe because they believed it would make them sick. Well, early modern English didn't bathe as often as contemporary people do--because they didn't have hot and cold running water, or indoor plumbing. Water had to be drawn from the pump or the well, heated, put into the bathtub, and that was an awful lot of work. It's one thing if you have servants to do that for you, and another thing if you have to do that yourself.

And then, as a practical matter, many families had to share the same tub of water, bathing very quickly to let everyone bathe before it cooled--and that might be entirely healthy. A great way to pass illness around the entire family.

Yeah. They wanted to be clean. Bathing wasn't the obvious and easy thing it is for us.

Dolnick doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the world he's writing about.

The science, though, and the math, as far as my knowledge goes, he does well with that, It's interesting, lively, and really gives a great sense of the personalities of the people involved.

So, recommended with the above caveats.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Aug 19, 2020 |
1-5 van 25 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
London before the mid-1600s was a general calamity. The streets were full of thieves, murderers and human waste. Death was everywhere: doctors were hapless, adults lived to about age 30, children died like flies. In 1665, plague moved into the city, killing sometimes 6,000 people a week. In 1666, an unstoppable fire burned the city to the ground; the bells of St. Paul’s melted. Londoners thought that the terrible voice of God was “roaring in the City,” one witness wrote, and they would do best to accept the horror, calculate their sins, pray for guidance and await retribution.

In the midst of it all, a group of men whose names we still learn in school formed the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge. They thought that God, while an unforgiving judge, was also a mathematician. As such, he had organized the universe according to discernible, mathematical law, which, if they tried, they could figure out. They called themselves “natural philosophers,” and their motto was “Nullius in verba”: roughly, take no one’s word for anything. You have an idea? Demonstrate it, do an experiment, prove it. The ideas behind the Royal Society would flower into the Enlightenment, the political, cultural, scientific and educational revolution that gave rise to the modern West.

This little history begins Edward Dolnick’s “Clockwork Universe,” so the reader might think the book is about the Royal Society and its effects. But the Royal Society is dispatched in the first third of the book, and thereafter, the subject is how the attempt to find the mathematics governing the universe played out in the life of Isaac Newton. . . .
toegevoegd door PLReader | bewerkNY Times, ANN FINKBEINER (Mar 25, 2011)
 
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A"New York Times"-bestselling author presents the true story of a pivotal moment in modern history when a group of strange, tormented geniuses--Isaac Newton chief among them--invented science and remade our understanding of the world.

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