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Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution Paperback – December 5, 2000
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Political meddling in science is nothing new; even 300 years ago rulers competed for knowledge and the status that came from scientific achievement. Jardine expands on this premise to see the colonial expansion of the time as a driving force behind research, responsible for the contemporary explosions in cartography, botany, and optics. While Ingenious Pursuits stays for the most part in the 17th century, it does remind us of our own interwoven scientific and social threads, and that perhaps the next revolutionary breakthrough will come about as much because of telemarketers as National Science Foundation grants. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most histories of this period that deal with science at all fall into a couple of easily defined categories. They may take a single thread and follow it: there are many accounts of the discovery of calculus, for example, that discuss Fermat, Descartes, Leibniz and Newton. These books shed only a tangential light on the social background and say little or nothing about the state of the rest of science. Other books may neglect the details of the science in order to convey the society; or may provide biographies of individual figures. Jardine points out one of the dangers in this last approach: Robert Boyle's first biographer decided to focus primarily on his contributions to chemistry, and actually destroyed much source material related to other interests of his.
Jardine's approach here is to give a chapter to each of several fields, and trace the history of the field over fifty or sixty years. The first chapter, for example, covers astronomy, including the identification of Halley's comet and the founding of the Greenwich Observatory. Once the players are introduced, the reader finds them recurring over and over again in subsequent chapters; this is what unifies the book.Read more ›
We have Robert Hooke, experimenting on himself with emetics and purgatives loaded with antimony, arsenic, mercury and a host of weird botanical extracts. In his diary, he complains of misty vision and ringing in the ears, so to cure these symptoms, he takes more of the same. The symptoms of course are those of heavy metal poisoning. Interestingly, this was the age of "holistic" medicine, where the whole body was treated and where the cures did not target specific symptoms and maladies.
There is Boyle with his vacuum chamber snuffing out little critters in front of the Royal Society. Not to be outdone by his evacuated fauna, he himself went into a chamber to be evacuated. Lucky him -- the system failed. Some of this group of eminent scientists did have serious qualms on the common practice of dissecting live dogs (vivisection). This was in the age before anesthesia.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Its not the most interesting book but it was in great condition when I received it.Published 19 months ago by Yong Kim
Oh my gosh! SO MUCH to learn... have read it twice and still go back for reaffirmation.Published 19 months ago by Sharon Keniston
The story being told, about scientific curiosity, investigation, discovery, and rivalry in the 17th and early 18th century is fascinating, but Lisa Jardine is not an engaging... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Neal Zoren
This book usually fascinated me, but could be frustrating at times. I have read quite a few books that cover the history of technology and ideas, and it is not an easy subject to... Read morePublished on April 20, 2013 by Lectito
This book is at best a tolerable essay on selected efforts in science in northern Europe in the last part of the seventeenth century. Read morePublished on October 26, 2012 by That's Life
Jardine does a fantastic job of weaving together the narrative of the early scientific revolution. She plays on the personalities of the various individuals involved, describing... Read morePublished on February 26, 2010 by C. S. Dinkel
I love books on science, particularly those about the great "discovery" times in Europe (mainly England) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Read morePublished on December 2, 2006 by Avid Reader
I'm pretty disappointed by this book - as other reviewers have said, there are many interesting facts, but it's quite incoherent. And then I start wondering how many are facts. Read morePublished on October 23, 2006 by Mr. T. LUND
Awful. The book is simply a large collection of facts and quotations stuck together with overblown generalizations. Read morePublished on April 2, 2003 by Amazon Customer