Dutch Light: Christiaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe

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Pan Macmillan, 3 sep. 2020 - 384 pagina's
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'Enchanting to the point of escapism.' Simon Ings, Spectator

'Hugh Aldersey-Williams rescues his subject from Newton's shadow, where he was been unjustly confined for over three hundred years.' Literary Review

Filled with incident, discovery, and revelation, Dutch Light is a vivid account of Christiaan Huygens’s remarkable life and career, but it is also nothing less than the story of the birth of modern science as we know it.

Europe’s greatest scientist during the latter half of the seventeenth century, Christiaan Huygens was a true polymath. A towering figure in the fields of astronomy, optics, mechanics, and mathematics, many of his innovations in methodology, optics and timekeeping remain in use to this day. Among his many achievements, he developed the theory of light travelling as a wave, invented the mechanism for the pendulum clock, and discovered the rings of Saturn – via a telescope that he had also invented.

A man of fashion and culture, Christiaan came from a family of multi-talented individuals whose circle included not only leading figures of Dutch society, but also artists and philosophers such as Rembrandt, Locke and Descartes. The Huygens family and their contemporaries would become key actors in the Dutch Golden Age, a time of unprecedented intellectual expansion within the Netherlands. Set against a backdrop of worldwide religious and political turmoil, this febrile period was defined by danger, luxury and leisure, but also curiosity, purpose, and tremendous possibility.

Following in Huygens’s footsteps as he navigates this era while shuttling opportunistically between countries and scientific disciplines, Hugh Aldersey-Williams builds a compelling case to reclaim Huygens from the margins of history and acknowledge him as one of our most important and influential scientific figures.

 

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Inhoudsopgave

List of illustrations
The Huygens family
THE KENNER OF ALL THINGS
ENCOUNTERS WITH GENIUS
ALMOST A PRODIGY
REVERSALS AND COLLISIONS
vi
SATURN
xxviii
TIME AND CHANCE
xliv
SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY
lxiii
THE PARISIAN
lxxxvii
SCIENCE DURING WARTIME
cxx
LIGHT AND GRAVITY
cxliii
Main personalities
clxxxiii
Acknowledgements
cxci
Bibliography
ccxxiv
Copyright

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Over de auteur (2020)

Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture – including Tide, Periodic Tales, Anatomies, The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century and Dutch Light – and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.

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