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The Spirit of Inquiry: How one extraordinary society shaped modern science by [Gibson, Susannah]
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The Spirit of Inquiry: How one extraordinary society shaped modern science Kindle Edition


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Length: 399 pages Word Wise: Enabled Language: English

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Review

I loved this book. And if you, too, are fascinated by the history of British science and are interested in Cambridge University, you will too ... Gibson has produced an impressive addition to the history of the development of the science... (Brian Clegg, Popular Science)

Product Description

Cambridge is now world-famous as a centre of science, but it wasn't always so. Before the nineteenth century, the sciences were of little importance in the University of Cambridge. But that began to change in 1819 when two young Cambridge fellows took a geological fieldtrip to the Isle of Wight. Adam Sedgwick and John Stevens Henslow spent their days there exploring, unearthing dazzling fossils, dreaming up elaborate theories about the formation of the earth, and
bemoaning the lack of serious science in their ancient university. As they threw themselves into the exciting new science of geology - conjuring millions of years of history from the evidence they found in the island's rocks - they also began to dream of a new scientific society for Cambridge. This
society would bring together like-minded young men who wished to learn of the latest science from overseas, and would encourage original research in Cambridge. It would be, they wrote, a society "to keep alive the spirit of inquiry".

Their vision was realised when they founded the Cambridge Philosophical Society later that same year. Its founders could not have imagined the impact the Cambridge Philosophical Society would have: it was responsible for the first publication of Charles Darwin's scientific writings, and hosted some of the most heated debates about evolutionary theory in the nineteenth century; it saw the first announcement of x-ray diffraction by a young Lawrence Bragg - a technique that would revolutionise
the physical, chemical and life sciences; it published the first paper by C.T.R. Wilson on his cloud chamber - a device that opened up a previously-unimaginable world of sub-atomic particles. 200 years on from the Society's foundation, this book reflects on the achievements of Sedgwick, Henslow, their
peers, and their successors. Susannah Gibson explains how Cambridge moved from what Sedgwick saw as a "death-like stagnation" (really little more than a provincial training school for Church of England clergy) to being a world-leader in the sciences. And she shows how science, once a peripheral activity undertaken for interest by a small number of wealthy gentlemen, has transformed into an enormously well-funded activity that can affect every aspect of our lives.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8376 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0198833377
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (15 February 2019)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07L5P56YL
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #388,103 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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