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New York Times bestselling author Edward Dolnick brings to light the true story of one of the most pivotal moments in modern intellectual history—when a group of strange, tormented geniuses invented science as we know it, and remade our understanding of the world. Dolnick’s earth-changing story of Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the birth of modern science is at once an entertaining romp through the annals of academic history, in the vein of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, and a captivating exploration of a defining time for scientific progress, in the tradition of Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder.
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The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of menwho lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured auniverse that ran like a perfect machine. A meld ofhistory and science, this book is a group portrait ofsome of the greatest minds who ever lived as theywrestled with nature’s most sweeping mysteries. Theanswers they uncovered still hold the key to how weunderstand the world.
At the end of the seventeenth century—an age ofreligious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London—when most people saw the world as falling apart, theseearliest scientists saw a world of perfect order. They declaredthat, chaotic as it looked, the universe was in factas intricate and perfectly regulated as a clock. This wasthe tail end of Shakespeare’s century, when the naturaland the supernatural still twined around each other. Diseasewas a punishment ordained by God, astronomy hadnot yet broken free from astrology, and the sky was filledwith omens. It was a time when little was known andeverything was new. These brilliant, ambitious, curiousmen believed in angels, alchemy, and the devil, and theyalso believed that the universe followed precise, mathematicallaws—a contradiction that tormented them andchanged the course of history.
The Clockwork Universe is the fascinating and compellingstory of the bewildered geniuses of the RoyalSociety, the men who made the modern world.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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