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The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

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The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science Cover

 

Staff Pick

Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder is at once a history of Regency-era scientific discovery and a meditation on what the pursuit of science says about us as individuals and as a culture. Scrupulously researched and deftly told, this book is an epic journey of the mind.
Recommended by Beth, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A riveting history of the men and women whose discoveries and inventions at the end of the eighteenth century gave birth to the Romantic Age of Science.

When young Joseph Banks stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, he hoped to discover Paradise. Inspired by the scientific ferment sweeping through Britain, the botanist had sailed with Captain Cook on his first Endeavour voyage in search of new worlds. Other voyages of discovery—astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical—swiftly follow in Richard Holmes’s original evocation of what truly emerges as an Age of Wonder.

Brilliantly conceived as a relay of scientific stories, The Age of Wonder investigates the earliest ideas of deep time and space, and the explorers of “dynamic science,” of an infinite, mysterious Nature waiting to be discovered. Three lives dominate the book: William Herschel and his sister Caroline, whose dedication to the study of the stars forever changed the public conception of the solar system, the Milky Way, and the meaning of the universe; and Humphry Davy, who, with only a grammar school education stunned the scientific community with his near-suicidal gas experiments that led to the invention of the miners’ lamp and established British chemistry as the leading professional science in Europe. This age of exploration extended to great writers and poets as well as scientists, all creators relishing in moments of high exhilaration, boundary-pushing and discovery.

Holmes’s extraordinary evocation of this age of wonder shows how great ideas and experiments—both successes and failures—were born of singular and often lonely dedication, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide. He has written a book breathtaking in its originality, its storytelling energy, and its intellectual significance.

Synopsis:

The winner of the Somerset Maugham Award presents the earliest ideas of the explorers of “dynamic science,” including William Herschel and his sister, Caroline, who changed the public's ideas about stars, and Humphry Davy, who invented the miners' lamp.

About the Author

RICHARD HOLMES is the author of Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer; Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage; Shelley: The Pursuit (for which he received the Somerset Maugham Award); Coleridge: Early Visions; and Coleridge: Darker Reflections (a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist). He lives in England.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations

Prologue

1 Joseph Banks in Paradise

2 Herschel on the Moon

3 Balloonists in Heaven

4 Herschel Among the Stars

5 Mungo Park in Africa

6 Davy on the Gas

7 Dr Frankenstein and the Soul

8 Davy and the Lamp

9 Sorcerer and Apprentice

10 Young Scientists

Epilogue

Cast List

Bibliography

References

Acknowledgements

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307378323
Subtitle:
How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Author:
Holmes, Richard
Author:
<i>Coleridge: Early Visions
Author:
Richard Holmes
Author:
of <i>Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer
Author:
Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer
Author:
Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage
Subject:
Science : History
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Scientists - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Science
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Science -- Great Britain -- History.
Subject:
Discoveries in science - Great Britain -
Subject:
History of Science-General
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20090714
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
552

Related Subjects

Biography » Science and Technology
History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
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$ In Stock
Product details 552 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307378323 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder is at once a history of Regency-era scientific discovery and a meditation on what the pursuit of science says about us as individuals and as a culture. Scrupulously researched and deftly told, this book is an epic journey of the mind.

"Synopsis" by , The winner of the Somerset Maugham Award presents the earliest ideas of the explorers of “dynamic science,” including William Herschel and his sister, Caroline, who changed the public's ideas about stars, and Humphry Davy, who invented the miners' lamp.
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