The Clockwork Universe: saac Newto, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern WorldI

The Clockwork Universe: saac Newto, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern WorldI

3.9 25
by Edward Dolnick
     
 

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The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of menwho lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured auniverse that ran like a perfect machine. A meld ofhistory and science, this book is a group portrait ofsome of the greatest minds who ever lived as theywrestled with nature’s most sweeping mysteries. Theanswers they uncovered still hold the key

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Overview

The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of menwho lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured auniverse that ran like a perfect machine. A meld ofhistory and science, this book is a group portrait ofsome of the greatest minds who ever lived as theywrestled with nature’s most sweeping mysteries. Theanswers they uncovered still hold the key to how weunderstand the world.

At the end of the seventeenth century—an age ofreligious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London—when most people saw the world as falling apart, theseearliest scientists saw a world of perfect order. They declaredthat, chaotic as it looked, the universe was in factas intricate and perfectly regulated as a clock. This wasthe tail end of Shakespeare’s century, when the naturaland the supernatural still twined around each other. Diseasewas a punishment ordained by God, astronomy hadnot yet broken free from astrology, and the sky was filledwith omens. It was a time when little was known andeverything was new. These brilliant, ambitious, curiousmen believed in angels, alchemy, and the devil, and theyalso believed that the universe followed precise, mathematicallaws—a contradiction that tormented them andchanged the course of history.

The Clockwork Universe is the fascinating and compellingstory of the bewildered geniuses of the RoyalSociety, the men who made the modern world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062042262
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/08/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
316,955
File size:
19 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Edward Dolnick is the author of Down the Great Unknown and the Edgar Award-winning The Rescue Artist. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, he has written for The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He lives with his wife near Washington, D.C.

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The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
leopardiNJ More than 1 year ago
At Newton's funeral dukes and lords bore his coffin to its final resting place in England's national cathedral with honors and distinctions literally above that of princes. The fate of Newton's nemesis, Leibniz, not much less of a towering intellectual figure of the 17th/18th centuries, was an unmarked grave and, until recently, relative obscurity. Although Edward Dolnick's book, The Clockwork Universe, is concerned primarily with the theological and philosophical underpinnings of the dawn of modern science, there is enough detail in the book about the times to raise the question - Why England? The answer in part, according to Dolnick, lies with the founding of the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge and, in part, with contrasting theological views of England and the continent. Neither Newton nor Leibniz were born to nobility or great ease. They both succeeded on the strength of their intellects. But while Leibniz was never little more than an intellectual court jester dependent on the whim of the continental European aristocracy, we find Newton comfortably enough ensconced in a university position at an early age with enough resources to support a ample experimental laboratory and enough leisure time to ponder and publish on the deepest secrets of the universe. Dolnick has provided a very readable, thoroughly research and well-documented (more than 25% of the text is devoted to notes and references) history of the intellectual development of calculus and the physics (at least in Newton's case) that sometimes preceded (e.g. Galileo) and sometimes followed close behind. For some reason the author chose to break the text into 53 chapters (averaging less than 6 pages per chapter) which tends to break the flow of the arguments unnecessarily at times. A little more technical detail on the fundamentals of calculus and a little more on the temper of the times in England could have fit nicely into the white space left by so many chapter breaks. Richard R. Pardi Environmental Science William Paterson University
tectonic-teutonic More than 1 year ago
When I try to tell people that this is a book about the English Royal Society and Newton, their eyes glaze over. But Dolnick makes the math and science understandable (dare I say exciting?) and the characters fascinating. But more, I found the descriptions of England before and during that time to be outrageous--there were times when I gasped at the filth and depraved understanding of nature and society that existed at that time. I constantly bother my family and friends with some arcane factoid gleaned from the treasure trove presented in this well researched and readable book
LordVader More than 1 year ago
Well written, very interesting, insightful, and I like the relatively short chapters that were quick to introduce an idea, get to the point, and move onto the next chapter, the next idea. It was fascinating to be introduced to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the great rivel with Newton in terms of calculus and its introduction. It was also fascinating to learn that it wasn't just religious leaders that were not fans of science, but other intellectuals of the day, like Jonathan Swift. Well worth the time and money.
jimeJM More than 1 year ago
Read this and you will be amazed..If you are not a math person your mouth will be shut after all the facts you will learn from these men and the "Age of Genius"....Good writing and excellent research that was done by Dolnick...
Ashley_Maxwell More than 1 year ago
Very good account of the history of the royal society and Newton's involvement with the people in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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This book ties in perfectly between history, religion, and science.
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science_fan More than 1 year ago
very informative, very fun. electromagnetism (geo) history and how we in currently interpret the earths magnetic field.