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Ingenious Pursuits Building the Scientific Revolution

by Lisa Jardine

  • ISBN: 9780385720014
  • ISBN10: 0385720017

Ingenious Pursuits Building the Scientific Revolution

by Lisa Jardine

  • List Price: $17.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 12/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780385720014
  • ISBN10: 0385720017
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Description: Today the two cultures of "art" and "science" have come to be treated as fundamentally opposed, their aims incompatible. In this remarkable book, Lisa Jardine makes clear that this distinction is both artifical and historically inaccurate.

The intellectual revolution of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was the single most formative event in Western history, bringing together the humanities and natural sciences in an unprecedented ferment of conceptual and practical inventiveness. Isaac Newton was as fascinated by the transmutation of metals as he was by the movements of the planets. John Locke was a keen a physician and botanist as he was a philosopher. Christopher Wren pursued anatomical dissections with the same vigor he did architecture.

These men -- among others -- opened their minds to the widest possible influences, allowing for huge and brilliant leaps of imagination, for the ingenuity, quick-wittedness, lateral thinking, and inspired guesswork that we now associate with the humanities, not the sciences. But what unified their activities was a genius for technological innovation, for combining the workings of the hand and the brain in one continuous creative process. And it is this that marks the emergence of a distinctive, modern Western Intellectual Tradition.

Ingenious Pursuits focuses on a series of virtuoso advancements -- among them the discovery of the circulation of the blood, the perfection of the mechanical clock, enhanced astronomical observation, selective animal and plant breeding, and the development of chemical analysis -- that transformed the thinking of the early modern world and laid the very foundations for modern thought. Revisiting thelargely unsung heroes of the Scientific Revolution, Jardine brilliantly illuminates the practice of science, showing how the discoveries they made grew out of the preoccupations and pressures of an active and engaged everyday life. Ingenious Pursuits is a broad-ranging and highly readable look at the very nature of creativity, at the impact of science on the emerging modern world, and the intellectual revolutions that still shape lives.

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