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

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Winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Richard Holmes, prize-winning biographer of Coleridge and Shelley, explores the scientific ferment that swept across Britain at the end of 18th century in this ground-breaking new biography . 'The Age of Wonder' is Richard Holmes's first major work of biography in over a decade. It has been inspired by the scientific ferment that swept through Britain at the end of the eighteenth century, which Holmes now radically redefines as 'the revolution of Romantic Science'. The book opens with Joseph Banks stepping onto a Tahitian beach in 1796, hoping to discover Paradise. The young botanist had set sail in search of new worlds - inspired by the Romantic revolution of science that was sweeping through Britain. Banks goes on to introduce us to William Herschel, whose groundbreaking dedication to the stars forever changed the public conception of the solar system, and Humphry Davy, whose creation of the Safety Lamp went on to save thousands of lives. These are just a few of the lives covered in this remarkable work in which Holmes charts the many voyages of discovery - astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical - that made up this `age of wonder'. From telescopic sight to miner's lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration, it tells the stories of great innovations, and the inspired individuals behind them.

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Amazon Exclusive: Oliver Sacks on The Age of Wonder

Oliver Sacks is the author of Musicophilia, Awakenings,The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and many other books, for which he has received numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and lives in New York City, where he is a practicing neurologist. Read his exclusive guest review of The Age of Wonder:

I am a Richard Holmes addict. He is an incomparable biographer, but in The Age of Wonder, he rises to new heights and becomes the biographer not of a single figure, but of an entire unique period, when artist and scientist could share common aims and ambitions and a common language--and together create a "romantic," humanist science. We are once again on the brink of such an age, when science and art will come together in new and powerful ways. For this we could have no better model than the lives of William and Caroline Herschel and Humphry Davy, whose dedication and scientific inventiveness were combined with a deep sense of wonder and poetry in the universe. Only Holmes, who is so deeply versed in the people and culture of eighteenth-century science, could tell their story with such verve and resonance for our own time.

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About the Author:

Richard Holmes is Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia, and editor of the Harper Perennial series Classic Biographies launched in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, has honorary doctorates from UEA and the Tavistock Institute, and was awarded an OBE in 1992. His books have won the Somerset Maugham Prize, the Whitbread Book of the Year, the James Tait Black Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize and the Heinemann Award. His most recent book, The Age of Wonder, won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

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Richard Holmes
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Repr.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement.The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own voyages of artistic and scientific discovery - astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical - that together made up the `age of wonder .In this breathtaking group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the period s celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight to the miner s lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration. Seller Inventory # AA89780007149537

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Repr.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement.The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own voyages of artistic and scientific discovery - astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical - that together made up the `age of wonder .In this breathtaking group biography, Richard Holmes tells the stories of the period s celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight to the miner s lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration. Seller Inventory # AA89780007149537

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Book Description Condition: New. Publisher/Verlag: HarperPress | How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science | Richard Holmes, prize-winning biographer of Coleridge and Shelley, explores the scientific ferment that swept across Britain at the end of the 18th century in his ground-breaking new biography 'The Age of Wonder' 'The Age of Wonder' is Richard Holmes's first major work of biography in over a decade. It has been inspired by the scientific ferment that swept through Britain at the end of the eighteenth century, 'The Age of Wonder' and which Holmes now radically redefines as 'the revolution of Romantic Science' The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook's first Endeavour voyage, stepping onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, hoping to discover Paradise. Many other voyages of discovery swiftly follow, while Banks, now President of the Royal Society in London, becomes our narrative guide to what truly emerges as an Age of Wonder. Banks introduces us to the two scientific figures that dominate the book: astronomer William Herschel and chemist Humphry Davy. Herschel's tireless dedication to the stars, assisted (and perhaps rivalled) by his comet-finding sister Caroline, changed forever the public conception of the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy and the meaning of the universe itself. Davy first shocked the scientific community with his near-suicidal gas experiments in Bristol, then went on to save thousands of lives with his Safety Lamp and established British chemistry as the leading professional science in Europe. But at the cost, perhaps, of his own heart. Holmes proposes a radical vision of science before Darwin, exploring the earliest ideas of deep time and deep space, the creative rivalry with the French scientific establishment, and the startling impact of discovery on great writers and poets such as Mary Shelley, Coleridge, Byron and Keats. With hi s trademark sense of the human drama, he shows how great ideas and experiments are born out of lonely passion, how scientific discoveries (and errors) are made, how intense relationships are forged and broken by research, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide. The result is breathtaking in its originality, its story-telling energy, and not least, in its intellectual significance. | Format: Paperback | Language/Sprache: english | 410 gr | 554 pp. Seller Inventory # K9780007149537

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Book Description HarperPress, 2009. Condition: New. 2009. Paperback. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes's dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement. Num Pages: 380 pages, Illustrations (chiefly col.), map, ports. (chiefly col.). BIC Classification: 3JF; PDX. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 128 x 37. Weight in Grams: 442. . . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780007149537

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