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Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific…

Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Lisa Jardine

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465922,298 (3.4)19
Title:Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution
Authors:Lisa Jardine
Info:Abacus (2000), Paperback, 444 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Non-Fiction, Science, History, Royal Society, Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Engineering, Technology, Philosophy

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Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution by Lisa Jardine (1999)

  1. 00
    Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (ztutz)
    ztutz: The Baroque Cycle, historical fiction by Neal Stephenson, features the Royal Society prominently.

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This is a gem of a book. Basically a snapshot of science & scientists in the 1600's, it brings to life the sudden change in the intellectual world away from accepting received wisdom, and to the modern scientific age based on direct observation and experimentation. Loved it.
Read in Samoa June 2002 ( )
  mbmackay | Nov 26, 2015 |
Susanna's recommendation. Looks sweet.
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
A year or so ago, I greatly enjoyed reading another book by Lisa Jardine, "Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance", but I couldn't justify it for "Hal's Picks" because it didn't have much scientific content. When I heard about "Ingenious Pursuits", I bought it from a book club and read it right away. My regret is that I didn't buy the hardcover version, because this is a book that I will keep for a long time. Lisa Jardine is Professor of English at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, but she is also a daughter of Jacob Bronowski, and she displays the independence of thought and the ability to view history in creative ways that characterized her late father. In "Ingenious Pursuits", she follows the early history of Western science (mostly 17th and 18th centuries) by focusing on the work of the inventors who created the equipment essential to the progress of science. Many of these names are already familiar: Hooke and Huygens, for example. I, for one, was unaware of the extent of the scientific interests of the famous architect, Christopher Wren, until I read this book. I also didn't know that many of the early experiments with vacuum pumps involved the asphyxiation of small animals, often for entertainment. Wren and Robert Boyle, famous to chemists for his contribution to gas laws, were involved in gruesome experiments to discover how respiration works by vivisecting large numbers of dogs. ( )
  hcubic | Jan 27, 2013 |
This interesting book from Lisa Jardine is almost a history of the early years of the Royal Society. Jardine fixes on the latter half of the seventeenth century where scientists were either competing on collaborating to drive forward a host of new technological developments that led to many of the devices that we take for granted today. For instance, the clock, telescope and microscope all leapt forward during that period, largely as a consequence of the exertions of the various polymaths who gathered to share and discuss their respective discoveries at the regular meetings of the Royal Society.
This is an accessible book - one of Professor Jardine's strengths is her ability to explain scientific theories in a concise, clear and readily understood manner. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Dec 7, 2012 |
Not as interesting as I thought it would be. I had trouble following the book, mostly from lack of interest; there was more information than I needed. There is a cast of characters, but since the book is not organized chronologically, a timeline would have been helpful. ( )
  atiara | Aug 13, 2010 |
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"seeks to show that the convergence of the humanities and natural sciences drove technological innovation in order to solve very real problems of the age"
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For my father, Jacob Bronweski, who showed me the way, and for Freya and Zoe, who are the future
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At the end of the seventeenth century, a century and a half before the glare of electric street-lighting, the skies above London were dark at night.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385720017, Paperback)

Even Einstein had to eat. We seem to forget that scientists live in the same world as the rest of us, and that their work is informed by everything they encounter day to day. Lisa Jardine explores this interconnectedness in the context of the late 17th-century scientific revolution in Ingenious Pursuits, a well-planned journey back in time that delivers precious insight into the lives of those who laid the groundwork for cloning, nuclear weapons, and Internet commerce. Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren, and Gian Domenico Cassini are just a few of the multitalented explorers that Jardine profiles through diaries, letters, and scientific records. Taking the time to fully flesh out the lives of these adventurous spirits, she shows the reader that science began as a natural curiosity about the material world, inspired by diverse interests: art, religion, medicine, engineering, and more.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:19 -0400)

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