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.
“[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.”
“A character-rich, historical narrative.”
“A lively account of early science. . . . Colorful, entertainingly written and nicely paced.”
“An engrossing read.”
“Dolnick’s book is lively and the characters are vivid.”
“Edward Dolnick’s smoothly written history of the scientific revolution tells the stories of the key players and events that transformed society.”
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.