The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

by Edward Dolnick
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Overview

The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick

From New York Times bestselling author Edward Dolnick, 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.

At a time when the world was falling apart— in an age of religious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London—a group of men looked around them and saw a world of perfect order. Chaotic as it looked, these earliest scientists declared, the universe was in fact an intricate and perfectly regulated clockwork. This was the tail-end of Shakespeare’s century, and these were brilliant, ambitious, confused, conflicted men. They believed in angels and alchemy and the devil, and they believed that the universe followed precise, mathematical laws. This is the story of the bewildered geniuses who made the modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061719523
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 167,232
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Edward Dolnick is the author of Down the Great Unknown, The Forger’s Spell, and the Edgar Award-winning The Rescue Artist. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, 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
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.