The Clockwork Universe
The Clockwork Universe
Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World
HarperTorch, Hardcover, 9780061719516, 378pp.
Publication Date: February 2011
The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of men who lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured a universe that ran like a perfect machine. A meld of history and science, this book is a group portrait of some of the greatest minds who ever lived as they wrestled with natures most sweeping mysteries. The answers they uncovered still hold the key to how we understand the world.
At the end of the seventeenth centuryan age of religious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London when most people saw the world as falling apart, these earliest scientists saw a world of perfect order. They declared that, chaotic as it looked, the universe was in fact as intricate and perfectly regulated as a clock. This was the tail end of Shakespeares century, when the natural and the supernatural still twined around each other. Disease was a punishment ordained by God, astronomy had not yet broken free from astrology, and the sky was filled with omens. It was a time when little was known and everything was new. These brilliant, ambitious, curious men believed in angels, alchemy, and the devil, and they also believed that the universe followed precise, mathematical lawsa contradiction that tormented them and changed the course of history.
The Clockwork Universe is the fascinating and compelling story of the bewildered geniuses of the Royal Society, the men who made the modern world.
“Dolnick’s book is lively and the characters are vivid.”
-New York Times Book Review
“A character-rich, historical narrative.”
-Wall Street Journal
“Edward Dolnick’s smoothly written history of the scientific revolution tells the stories of the key players and events that transformed society.”
“An engrossing read.”
“A lively account of early science. . . . Colorful, entertainingly written and nicely paced.”
“[Dolnick] offers penetrating portraits of the geniuses of the day . . . who offer fertile ground for entertaining writing. [He] has an eye for vivid details in aid of historical recreation, and an affection for his subjects . . . [An] informative read.”