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Science for a Polite Society Gender, Culture, and the Demonstration of Enlightenment

by Geoffrey V. Sutton

  • ISBN: 9780813315768
  • ISBN10: 081331576X

Science for a Polite Society Gender, Culture, and the Demonstration of Enlightenment

by Geoffrey V. Sutton

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Lightning Source Inc
  • Publish date: 09/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780813315768
  • ISBN10: 081331576X
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Description: An entertaining look at how science really came to be accepted in place of magic and myth -- and the major role that women played in popularizing science during the Enlightenment.

"The past is another country, but scientific tourists visiting the Enlightenment have a wonderful new guidebook in Science for a Polite Society. In refreshing contrast to traditional histories about theoretical debates between male scientists, this lively narrative conveys the excitement shared by women and men researchers during the 17th and 18th centuries". New Scientist

"It is truly a rare event when someone can produce a new and important view of the rise of modern science. Geoffrey Sutton does just this by revealing the importance of salon society, amusement, and spectacle in the development of science in seventeenth and eighteenth century France. Science for a Polite Society is an important addition to our knowledge and presents quite a different picture from the one we have known".

Bernard Cohen Harvard University

"Science for a Polite Society" is an intriguing reexamination of the social, cultural, and intellectual context of the origins of modern science, based on lively look at the hidden history of the early years of modern science.

The elite of French society were avid readers of works of natural philosophy and active participants in experiments conducted largely for the amusement of their peers. Sutton points out that the sheer entertainment value of startling displays of electricity and chemical explosions would have played an important role in persuading the skeptical. We can only imagine the effects of such "experiments" on an audience that lived in a world illuminated bytallowcandles. For many, leaping electrical arcs and window-rattling detonations were far more convincing of the legitimacy of modern science than Newton's mathematically elegant proofs.

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