The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

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9780061719523: The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

From New York Times bestselling author Edward Dolnick, the true story of a pivotal moment in modern history when a group of strange, tormented geniuses—Isaac Newton chief among them—invented science and remade our understanding of the world.

At a time when the world was falling apart— in an age of religious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London—a group of men looked around them and saw a world of perfect order. Chaotic as it looked, these earliest scientists declared, the universe was in fact an intricate and perfectly regulated clockwork. This was the tail-end of Shakespeare’s century, and these were brilliant, ambitious, confused, conflicted men. They believed in angels and alchemy and the devil, and they believed that the universe followed precise, mathematical laws. This is the story of the bewildered geniuses who made the modern world.

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From the Back Cover:

In a world of chaos and disease, one group of driven, idiosyncratic geniuses envisioned a universe that ran like clockwork. They were the Royal Society, the men who made the modern world.

At the end of the seventeenth century, sickness was divine punishment, astronomy and astrology were indistinguishable, and the world’s most brilliant, ambitious, and curious scientists were tormented by contradiction. They believed in angels, devils, and alchemy yet also believed that the universe followed precise mathematical laws that were as intricate and perfectly regulated as the mechanisms of a great clock.

The Clockwork Universe captures these monolithic thinkers as they wrestled with nature’s most sweeping mysteries. Award-winning writer Edward Dolnick illuminates the fascinating personalities of Newton, Leibniz, Kepler, and others, and vividly animates their momentous struggle during an era when little was known and everything was new—battles of will, faith, and intellect that would change the course of history itself.

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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