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The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World Kindle Edition
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|Length: 416 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
But this book is about much more than just the religious thoughts of some of history's greatest thinkers. It also profiles the world they lived in, from the superstitions and diseases the people faced to the unsanitary conditions that produced such maladies (and pity those who had access to the doctors!). And it humanizes them (most were pretty ill-tempered) even though they had talents we can only dream of. It also seeks to convey - in layman's terms - a basic understanding of the principles and truths discovered by these geniuses, and why they were so earth-changing.
I read a significant amount of history and you get used to a certain format when opening a book, a format that conveys a certain seriousness. So I was surprised (and even a little disappointed, too) when I saw the larger and heavier font more typical of pulp fiction. But in spite of that it's a very interesting read, particularly for those of us who aren't as familiar with the history of these men or their discoveries.Read more ›
The year is young and already I have found a book I'd rate as "Best General History book of 2011." This book is that good. Edward Dolnick, who himself is an amateur theoretical mathematician, has a great story to tell that is backed up with documented evidence and a plethora of research. He knows his stuff. He's also an excellent, engaging writer who makes this story of 17th-century scientific geniuses an interesting read. The great part is that you don't have to be a mathematician yourself to enjoy such an entertaining, interesting story, but you may wish you were.
Dolnick takes London of 1665, its stinking, filthy, fecal-infested city streets and turns these rather rancid images into an engrossing story of how Isaac Newton, an ill-tempered and vain man who left Cambridge during a plague outbreak to hide out on his mother's farm, as the setting of this book. Newton, however, wasn't the only one interested in celestial beings or the concept of gravity, motion and speed. There were others in Europe adept at critical thinking who formed what became the Royal Society. The almighty church, however, branded anyone who questioned God's universe as a heretic. Many gifted scientists were killed, others went into hiding. Only the lucky few were able to make themselves heard and live to write about it; Galileo himself died while under house arrest. Thank God for those courageous men or else Dolnick wouldn't have such a fascinating story to tell.
The book is divided into three parts, each focused on a separate theme.Read more ›
It was a heady time and there are heady tales to be told of it, both in history and in fiction. Among the most successful of the latter are Neal Stephenson's three-volume Baroque Cycle, and one suspects that it is their readership whom Edward Dolnick may have had had in mind when writing "The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern Universe".
Dolnick's writing style is immediately engaging; he is good-humoured, possessed of a dry wit and a pleasing turn of phrase. In his presentation of mathematical and scientific ideas, he takes great pains to render them clear to an audience not only of non-specialists but of complete novices. He writes of science like one of those inspirational teachers who can make these things make sense to the least scientific of students.
The book is structured in three parts. The first sets the historical scene of 1660s London - the Restoration, the plague of 1665, the Great Fire, the early work of the Royal Society. Part Two discusses the work of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo and even the ancient Greeks, to provide the scientific context for Newton's discoveries. Part Three focuses on Newton himself, his discoveries in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy, and his long-running feud with Leibnitz over the "invention" (sic) of calculus. (Surely mathematical laws are discovered, not invented?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whether you have a passing interest in science, or a deep education in it, I believe you will find this book both entertaining and enlightening. Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. Brownlee
This is a beautiful book that gives an excellent feel for the role of Kepler, Galileo, Leibniz and, in particular, Newton in making the modern world through their scientific... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tam Hunt
I found it very informative on how math, geometry and calculus came to be but found the author tended to jump from one subject to another. In the end it all came together.Published 3 months ago by David M. Cahill
What an incredible lesson in history, biography, middle ages history, etc. ....fascinating, filled with factual information
pertaining to Newton, one of the greatest... Read more
Nice and easy flow. This account offers great insight to just how far we've come to scientific understanding in the midst of superstition and quarantines of old thought.Published 6 months ago by Sean Calvert
I enjoyed the book and learned everything I was hoping to. It's well structured, but I couldn't stand Dolnick's writing style. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Walter Huxley
Learned a great deal about early scientists like Newton and Leibniz. Readable and written in the context of their timesPublished 9 months ago by Sacred Leadership
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