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The Newtonian Moment: Isaac Newton and the Making of Modern Culture [Paperback]

Mordechai Feingold


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Book Description

Dec 2 2004 0195177347 978-0195177343
Isaac Newton is a legendary figure whose mythical dimension threatens to overshadow the actual man. The story of the apple falling from the tree may or may not be true, but Isaac Newton's revolutionary discoveries and their importance to the Enlightenment era and beyond are undeniable. The Newtonian Moment, a companion volume to a forthcoming exhibition by the New York Public Library, investigates the effect that Newton's theories and discoveries had, not only on the growth of science, butalso on the very shape of modern culture and thought. Newton's scientific work at Cambridge was groundbreaking. From his optical experiments with prisms during the 1660s to the publication of both Principia (1687) and Opticks (1704), Newton's achievements were widely disseminated, inciting tremendous interest and excitement. Newtonianism developed into a worldview marked by many tensions: between modernity and the old guard, between the humanities and science, and the public battles between great minds. The Newtonian Moment illuminates the many facets of his colossal accomplishments, as well as the debates over the kind of knowledge that his accomplishments engendered. The book contributes to a greater understanding of the world today by offering a panoramic view of the profound impact of Newtonianism on the science, literature, art, and religion of the Enlightenment. Copiously illustrated with items drawn from the collections of the New York Public Library as well as numerous other libraries and museums, The Newtonian Moment enlightens its audience with a guided and in-depth look at the man, his world, and his enduring legacy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (Dec 2 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195177347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195177343
  • Product Dimensions: 25.5 x 20.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 898 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,041,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A lavish, lively book, it educates us in the manifold, particular, and paradoxical ways of genius. In the presence of these extraordinary documents, the work of Newton's skilled hands and speeding, inspired intellect, it would be easy to do what so many writers did in the eighteenth century: to treat Newton himself as more than human, as someone who stood above the conflicts of his own time, one who simply saw farther and worked on a higher level than his contemporaries, and achieved what he did unaided by ordinary mortals. One of the great virtues of The Newtonian Moment is that it refuses to do this. The manuscripts, books, images, and machines gathered here make clear, over and over again, that Newton was intimately and directly a product of his time and place."--The New York Review of Books

"This book reflects the broad appeal that Newton's fame brought to science. Mordechi Feingold makes it clear that...Newton's ultimate ascendancy is not a story of irresistible victory but a colorful saga of national prejudice, simple jealousy, ingenious technology and intellectual debate. Feingold's lucid and cogent account proves that even where one of its chief heroes is concerned, science involves far more than a disinterested pursuit of certainty and truth."--Theodore K. Rabb, Los Angeles Times

"...lavishly illustrated and immensely entertaining... Feingold engages in his own revision of newton's autocratic image. He reveals a Newton surrounded by conflict, battling Robert Hooke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and innumerable others... Feingold demonstrates that Newton's reputation owed much to those who could barely understand his great mathematical achievements... Feingold's work is full of insight into how Newton made the Enlightenment and what use the Enlightenment made of him."- American Scientist

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