[UCP Books]: Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything


“A wonderfully nuanced and wise study of the scientific revolution.”

Guardian

 Curiosity

How Science Became Interested in Everything

Philip Ball

Publication date: April 30, 2013 978-0-226-04579-5
  $35.00

 

Curiosity is taken for granted today as an essential component of the scientific enterprise. Yet there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Neither Pandora nor Eve could resist the dangerous allure of forbidden knowledge, and for millennia it was believed that there were some things we should not try to know. In the late sixteenth century this attitude began to change dramatically, and in Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, Philip Ball investigates how curiosity first became sanctioned—when it changed from a vice to a virtue and how it became permissible to ask any and every question about the world.
 
Looking closely at the intellectual currents of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, Ball vividly brings to life the age when modern science began, a time that spans the lives of Galileo and Isaac Newton. In this entertaining and illuminating account of the rise of science as we know it, Ball tells of scientists and philosophers both legendary and lesser known, from Kepler and Newton to Giambattista della Porta and Robert Hooke, as well as the inventions and technologies that were inspired by curiosity itself, such as the telescope and the microscope. The so-called Scientific Revolution is often told as a story of great geniuses illuminating the world with flashes of inspiration. But Curiosity reveals a more complex story, in which the liberation—and subsequent taming—of curiosity was linked to magic, religion, literature, travel, trade, and empire.
 
Philip Ball is a freelance writer who lives in London. He worked for over twenty years as an editor for Nature, writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and has authored many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and the wider culture, including Critical Mass, The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, Life’s Matrix, Bright Earth, Universe of Stone, and The Music Instinct. He is available for interviews. Please contact Carrie Olivia Adams at (773) 702-4216 or cadams@press.uchicago.edu

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